One actor seeks Aussie movie!
In Mark Hartley's fabulous doco Not Quite Hollywood there was a passage devoted to the international stars who were "shipped in" to star in Australian productions. They were the result of producers seeking bigger names in order to secure American sales for their films. Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis for Richard Franklin's Roadgames, Dennis Hopper in Phillipe Mora's Mad Dog Morgan, Robert Powell for Harlequin and Survivor, Steve Railsback and Olivia Hussey for Brian Trenchard-Smith's Turkey Shoot and so on. They were never the biggest stars in the world, but they secured international purchases for the lucrative American market and European markets.
Throughout the years since there have been several big international names cast in Australian films - Terrence Stamp famously portrayed a transvestite in The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert from 1994 and James Cromwell was brought in for Babe in 1995, however, let's not remember Molly Ringwald being imported for Cut, okay?! - but it seems it is becoming more and more common again. In these days where the dire state of the Australian film industry is a recurring subject on any Australian-based film blog or website, perhaps producers are clueing in and going back to the "well duh!" idea that stars get you exposure.
Tony Ayres' Home Song Stories would surely not have reached anywhere outside of it's home nation without the casting of Joan Chen, same too for Clubland (known as Introducing the Dwights in America) without Brenda Blethyn and Jindabyne without it's Laura Linney/Gabriel Byrne double-coup. Part of the reason Greg McLean was able to get so much financing for his killer croc flick Rogue was because he was able to cast Michael Vartan. It seems that every second new Aussie production though is hailing the casting of an International actor.
The Australia/UK co-production Accidents Happen stars Erik Thompson who is currently starring in huge TV hit Packed to the Rafters, but the film also strangely stars American actress Geena Davis. If this goes theatrical, it will be Davis' first cinema release since 2002's Stuart Little 2 after working in TV and direct-to-DVD sequels.
Disgrace has been discussed around here already. It stars John Malkovich and if it's reviews out of the Toronto Film Festival were any indication it could be a break out film on the international circuit.
Scott Hicks, the director behind Aussie biopic Shine and American films Snow Falling on Cedars and No Reservations, has cast Clive Owen in his Adelaide-shot Aussie feature The Boys are Back in Town. Owen joins a cast that includes Emma Booth (Clubland), George McKay (Defiance) and Julia Blake (Innocence).
Oscar-winner Adam Elliot (Harvey Krumpet) has been tirelessly working away at his first feature-length claymation film, titled Mary & Max. Alongside the voice cast of Toni Collette, Eric Bana and Barry Humphries amongst others will be Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman will voice Max, "a 44-year-old, "severely obese" New York Jewish man with Asperger's Syndrome." Naturally.
Mao's Last Dancer, from Australian director Bruce Beresford, features Jack Thompson and Aden Young but actually stars Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen (Twin Peaks reunion!!!omg!) and Bruce Greenwood. I thought this was an international co-production, but it turns out it is not so I am quite surprised they managed to get away with so many noteworthy international names in the lead roles. It also has Amanda Schull, people! AMANDA SCHULL!! How incredibly random.
Sleeper, which I spoke about recently, stars American WWE fighter "Raven". The horror genre is the most obvious place to find these fly-ins.