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The local production industry is frustrated at the loss of David Mamet's Blackbird, which looked set to shoot in Sydney early next year but has shifted instead to the US. The thriller, with Cate Blanchett playing a woman who discovers her late grandfather's secret role in the assassination of JFK, would have been a timely boost on top of Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, which is due to start filming next month, three weeks extra filming for George Miller's Mad Max Fury Road andRussell Crowe's directing debut The Water Diviner. "It's so frustrating," said one services supplier about losing Blackbird. "All I've heard is it's gone overseas." But there is scouting going on in Sydney for Michael Petroni's supernatural thriller Backtrack, about a psychologist who discovers his patients are all ghosts of people who died in an accident.
Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Rachel Griffiths, Guy Pearce and Sam Neill are among the big names taking part in a tribute to Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein in Canberra soon. The Canberra International Film Festival is presenting Body of Work from November 22 to 24, honouring the producer distributor's career and championing of Australian films including The Piano, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel's Wedding and The Sapphires. Weinstein's many Australian connections include running the successful Oscars campaign for The King's Speech and, just recently, picking up Tracks and The Railway Man for Reebok Grey
Stenders shooting first film since Red Dog
Director Kriv Stenders has started shooting his first film since Red Dog with an impressive cast headed by Simon Pegg, Alice Braga, Teresa Palmer, Sullivan Stapleton and Bryan Brown. The thriller Kill Me Three Times is described as three tales of murder, blackmail and revenge set in a surfing town. Braga (I Am Legend, Elysium) plays a married singer who gets involved with a surfer. Pegg, best known for his comic roles, is an assassin. "It's a delightfully wicked screenplay," Stenders tells Short Cuts on the way to set in the fishing town of Lancelin, north of Perth. "It's a real potboiler, the sort of film Hollywood used to make in the '80s and '90s that's just full of twists and turns and double twists and triple twists." Stenders says the first two days of filming have been "the usual hair raising antics nothing too dramatic, just weather and time and all that sort of stuff". And how has he found Pegg? "An absolute dream," he says. "His range and his skill and what he can do is breathtaking."
After a great reaction at festivals, Kaye Harrison's excellent Australian documentary The Sunnyboy is getting a cinema screening. It centres on singer Jeremy Oxley's emergence from a 30 year struggle with schizophrenia to perform again with his 1980s band The Sunnyboys. In Sydney, Harrison and fellow band member (and brother) Peter Oxley will talk at a Q session after the 4pm screening at the Chauvel cinema on Sunday.
its first weekend. Considering their earlier seven movie horror franchise Saw grossed more than $US870 million worldwide, it must seem like a long time since Whannell told us in 2004 that he was sick of seeing "insufficient funds" whenever he went to an ATM. Less happily, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke's Plush, an erotic thriller starring Australians Emily Browning and Xavier Samuel, averaged an abysmal $350 at 10 cinemas.
Stenders scores killer cast
US release. The Canberra events include screenings, Q sessions, a masterclass and what's described as a Virgin Ball a reference to the sponsor rather than a pagan ritual. Tickets go on sale Monday.
Bye bye Blackbird
Australians had two markedly different results at the American box office on the weekend. Director James Wan's low budget horror film Insidious Reebok Nano 6.0 Chapter 2 had an exceptional opening, becoming his second movie in two months, after The Conjuring, to take more than $US40 million on Reebok Latest Shoes With Price
It's Wan for the money, two for Reebok Blue Toe
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