Russell Crowe plans Aussie film studio

BRISBANE • Hollywood actor Russell Crowe announced plans on Wednesday to build a film studio on Australia's eastern coast, amid a rush of movie productions Down Under.

The Oscar-winning star of films such as Gladiator (2000) said the studio, estimated to cost A$438 million (S$445 million), would be constructed in Coffs Harbour, south of Brisbane, at a sprawling pre-existing resort complex.

Crowe, who lives in the coastal city, will finance the project with partners such as businessman Peter Montgomery and film producer Keith Rodger.

"The opportunity to build a facility like this spreads opportunity through the community by creating jobs, but not just jobs - actual professions and careers," the 57-year-old actor said at a press conference.

"For a number of years, I've been thinking how I might be able to combine where I live and my work."

The Pacific Bay Resort Studios and Village "will cater for major international feature films as well as local productions", a statement added.

Australia has become a popular filming location during the pandemic, with productions attracted by the country's relatively low rate of Covid-19 infections.

The government has also lured movie producers to Australia's sunny shores by handing out millions of dollars in incentives.

Marvel Studios' Thor: Love And Thunder, MGM's Thirteen Lives and Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson, are among those to benefit from the grants.

Hollywood stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney are filming Ticket To Paradise in northern Australia this year, while the Mad Max prequel Furiosa is scheduled for production near Sydney next year.

Crowe's studio project still requires planning approval, but has the backing of Australian government officials.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2021, with the headline 'Russell Crowe plans Aussie film studio'. Subscribe