The NSW government has won a bidding war with Victoria for Gods of Egypt, Alex Proyas’ fantasy adventure starring Gerard Butler, Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush and Brenton Thwaites.
Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner confirmed the production will shoot in Sydney, based at the Fox Studios, lured by NSW Trade & Investment’s State Investment Attraction Scheme.
“Securing the production of Gods of Egypt for NSW will create an estimated 400 jobs in the local film industry and contribute around $75 million in direct production expenditure to the NSW economy,” he said.
The production had built sets at the Fox Studios but the decision on whether to shoot there or in Melbourne has only just been made. The action-adventure based on Egyptian mythology was written by Proyas, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Shooting starts at the end of March.
Stoner said several of the State’s visual effects companies would be used to create the film’s sets, landscapes and creatures.
Thwaites plays Bek, a young thief who joins the god Horus (Coster-Waldau) on a quest through the palaces and pyramids of ancient Egypt where they encounter the Sun god Ra (Rush) and the dark god Set (Butler), who killed and mutilated his brother Osiris. Horus, the son of Osiris, seeks revenge.
Summit Entertainment is financing the SFX-laden film, which will be released in the US by its sibling Lionsgate. The producers are Proyas’ Mystery Clock Cinema and Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, with Proyas’ long-time business partner Topher Dow as executive producer.
Still unresolved is a disagreement between the producers and the MEAA, which objects to the conditions which a small number of technicians accepted in a 20-7 vote during pre-production, before the vast majority of the crew was hired.
The union says the conditions include cuts to overtime payments, night loadings and travel time. The MEAA was pressing for an agreement similar to those which applied to Unbroken, The Water Diviner and Mad Max: Fury Road.
The MEAA alleges the Gods of Egypt producers have used the process to bypass crew and are seeking to set new, lower standards for big-budget Australian films, and that it is not appropriate to import offshore conditions to productions that receive a 40% tax incentive to shoot in Australia.
The union has filed an objection to the agreement with the Fair Work Commission and is awaiting a hearing with the Commission.