Writer-director Luke Sparke always intended to shoot Occupation: Rainfall, the sequel to his 2018 sci-fi thriller Occupation, in three blocks.
However lengthy delays in the second and third blocks resulted in fresh additions to the cast in Jet Tranter, Mark Coles Smith, David Roberts and Dena Kaplan.
Tranter (Tidelands) took over from Stephanie Jacobson as a key leader on the human resistance who tries to end the war with aliens.
Coles Smith is a commando with Roberts as another resistance leader and Kaplan as a fighter pilot.
They joined the previously announced cast of Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Ken Jeong, Daniel Gillies, Lawrence Makoare, Vince Colosimo, Trystan Go, Zac Garred, Kat Risteska, Ben Chisholm, Erin Conner, Izzy Stevens and John Reynolds.
Filming wrapped in December after delays caused by a dispute with the MEAA. “With the film being so big, we always planned a radical move to cut the filming into three blocks,” Sparke tells IF.
Cinematographer Wade Muller and Luke Sparke.
“With an ongoing legal case against the MEAA, blocks 2 and 3 were delayed while we worked on post production. Unfortunately in legal cases like this, no one wins.”
Scripted by Sparke, the sequel picks up two years after the intergalactic invasion of Earth as survivors in Sydney fight back in a desperate ground war. As casualties mount, the resistance and their unexpected allies uncover a plot that could see the war come to a decisive end.
Sparke says: “Although it’s a big spectacle it’s tied to a very grounded sense of humanity and heart.”
A veteran with more than 70 screen credits, Roberts said during the shoot: “This is an incredibly ambitious project. I take my hat off because everybody is trying that little bit harder. Everyone understands how hard it is to make a movie in Australia, particularly a science-fiction movie on this scale.”
Garred, who was in the original, added: “Things have gotten bigger in a somewhat scarier way.”
The budget is north of $10 million, which producers Carly Imrie and Carmel Imrie raised from private investors, pre-sales negotiated by Film Mode Entertainment’s Clay Epstein and cash-flowing the Producer Offset. Monster Pictures will release in the second half of this year in Australia/NZ.
The entire film was shot on the Gold Coast with extensive work in three warehouses that were converted into studios. There were three massive sets: a secret military base, a government installation and underground sewers.