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The Matrix (Dir: Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999).
Westin Hotel, Martin Place Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Location for the staircase scene. Most of the locations used in the filming of The Matrix were Sydney office blocks, including, the roof of AON Tower, Kent Street, the Allianz Building, Market Street, scene of the helicopter crash rescue and BT Tower, Market Street, into which Morpheus’s helicopter crashes dramatically. A good bit of trivia is that he internal shot of the helicopter crash was filmed at the Columbia Pictures screening rooms in Sydney. If you’re going to Sydney you’ll probably run into the locations for all the underground station scenes in Sydney’s small section of underground. Museum and St. James Station have the recognisable green tiles.
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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Dir: Stephan Elliot, 1994)
Lasseters Hotel Casino, Barrett Drive, Alice Springs
This film could easily be an advert for Australia. It covers some of the countries best landscape on a proper road trip from cosmopolitan Sydney to Alice Springs. I wasn’t originally going to include it because all the locations are named, mining towns, Coober Pedy (which I’m told translates to ‘white man down a hole’?) and Broken Hill are just as they appear in the film, as is the gay area of Sydney (Darlinghurst) and of course Alice Springs and Kings Canyon where a triumphant Bernadette performs her overture (and the famous line, ‘That’s just what this country needs, a cock in a frock on a rock’ is delivered.). But I wanted to add it to my list of the best locations because it’s such a great town and country juxtaposition that you almost need to check for yourself if the locations are really as rough as they seem… And they are. Broken Hill and Coober Pedy especially are amazing places to visit. The endless red desert I found I was almost expecting but that there would be towns of people really living out here was a bit of an eye opener. There is literally nothing for miles and miles around and there they are with their pub and cars covered in red dust, flat, single storey weatherboard houses, covered in red dust, barely there tarmac and hard stubbie (that’s beer) drinkers in stubbies (that’s shorts). I didn’t stay in Lasseters but I did have a drink in the bar and it’s not as backward as it looks in the film, lots of tourists know about it from the film and they now have a drag act once a month.
The best trivia about Pricilla is that in a lot of the scenes filmed while the bus is moving, crew members are hiding under the beds to stay out of shot. There is also rumour that the original script called for the Kings Canyon scene to be shot on Ayers Rock but the tribal owners wouldn’t have it, hence the cock in a frock on a rock line.
The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 Peter Weir film adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by the author Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno. It follows a group of foreign correspondents in Jakarta on the eve of an attempted coup by the 30 September Movement in 1965.
Although originally set to be filmed in Jakarta, permission to film in Indonesia was denied, so the bulk of the movie was filmed in the Philippines. Death threats against Peter Weir and Mel Gibson from Muslims who believed the film would be anti-Islam forced the production to move to Australia.
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Gallipoli is a 1981 Australian film, directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, about several young men from rural Western Australia who enlist in the Australian Army during the First World War.
Gallipoli was filmed primarily in South Australia.The cattle station scenes were shot in Beltana, the salt lake at Lake Torrens, the station at Adelaide Railway Station, and the coastline near Port Lincoln was transformed into the Gallipoli Peninsula. The pyramid and bazaar scenes were fimed on location in Egypt.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Australian feature film directed by Peter Weir and starring Anne-Louise Lambert, Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts and Vivean Gray. The film is adapted from the novel of the same name, by author Joan Lindsay.
Martindale Hall (located near Mintaro in South Australia), was the location for Appleyard Hall, the school featured in the film.
Where the Wild Things Are is a 2009 American fantasy drama film directed by Spike Jonze and adapted from Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.
Filming began in April 2006 at Docklands Studios Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. According to Jonze, most of the film was shot with a handheld camera in order to complement the “evocative” “other-worldly” feel of the film. Adam Keenan and John Nolan are responsible for the animatronics. Jonze kept in close consultation with Sendak throughout the process, and the author approved creature designs created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. To make the set a more comfortable environment for child actor Max Records, Jonze encouraged the crew members to bring their children to the set. Some of them can be seen in the film’s classroom scene.