Scouting locations for The Moon and the Sun, a fantasy/adventure film starring Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy and Fan Bing Bing, the producers weighed offers from a number of countries.
Victoria won out thanks to a combination of the location offset, state rebate, quality of the crews and the expertise of VFX houses, according to Paul Currie, who is one of the principal producers alongside Pandemonium Films’ Bill Mechanic.
Budgeted at $US40 million, the film will shoot for two weeks in Versailles, France in March, then move to Australia in April using the stages of Docklands Studios and locations throughout Victoria.
An Aussie who’s based in Los Angeles, Currie tells IF, “$40 million goes a long way in Australia. Cost effectively we do great work for realistic budgets.”
Film Victoria, Screen NSW and Screen Queensland all pitched for the project and Ausfilm was co-operative. Currie was grateful for the agencies’ enthusiastic support and said the assistance offered by Film Victoria CEO Jenni Tosi tipped the balance.
Based on a novel by Vonda McIntyre, The Moon and the Sun is an adult fairytale centring on Louis XIV, who brings a mermaid into captivity in order to steal its life force The King’s quest is complicated when he brings to Court the daughter of the mistress he always loved and the creature seeks out the girl. When the girl, Marie-Josephe, discovers what her father intends to do, she sets out to free the mermaid.
Brosnan will play the King, with Fan Bing Bing as the mermaid, a Gollum-type digital creation. Nighy will play a character named Pere de Chaise.
Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer, Bratz, Raise Your Voice) will direct from a screenplay by Mechanic, with earlier drafts by James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Barry Berman (Benny & Joon).
Cosmos Filmed Entertainment will produce in association with Currie’s Lightstream Pictures and the China-based Maodi Group. The producers are Mechanic, former CEO and chairman of Fox Studios and producer of Coraline, Currie, James Pang (Painted Skin: The Resurrection), Wei Han and Evergrande's Timothy Mou.
Universal’s Focus Features will release the film in the US and Good Universe will handle international sales. The producers have yet to decide which VFX houses will be assigned but Currie says all the post will be in Australia.
Currie hopes to shoot another film, 2:22, a thriller about an air traffic controller who investigates a mysterious flash of light, with Mechanic in Australia later next year. He will direct from a screenplay based on an original concept by Todd Stein and Nathan Parker. Jackie O’Sullivan (The Proposition) will be one of the producers.
Currie directed and co-wrote the 2004 Australian drama One Perfect Day, which starred Dan Spielman, Leeanna Walsman and Nathan Phillips. Since moving to the US he has produced Oren Moverman’s Rampart, a crime drama starring Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster and Sigourney Weaver.
He's just finished producing Max Rose, which features Jerry Lewis as a jazz pianist who fears, days before the death of his wife, that his 65-year marriage was a lie.