Hollywood stars in Australia will never not be a novelty for us. I mean, will we ever get over Zac Efron being Down Under? Probs not. But aside from the High School Musical alum, a slew of other actors are in town at the moment. Like Natalie Portman, who was recently snapped on a full-on Woolies run.
Why are they here, though? Well, a lot of them are filming new movies and TV shows. Others were simply trapped here ‘cos of COVID-19, and decided to make the most of it.
Let us begin with the most obvious one: Zac Efron.
Efron’s been in Australia for a while now, first hiding out in Byron Bay for some time before the paparazzi found him.
Word around the block is Efron came to Australia to ride out the pandemic, which is fair enough. He will return to the States at some point to shoot a new Disney+ movie. But in the meantime, he’s filming locally.
Efron’s currently shooting a new film for Stan in Adelaide called Gold.
SPOTTED: Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron has been seen enjoying Adelaide’s nightlife at local bar Cry Baby.
— 9News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) November 12, 2020
The slow-mo will always be funny to me.
Costarring Anthony Hayes (War Machine, Animal Kingdom), Gold follows two drifters travelling through the outback who stumble across the biggest gold nugget ever found.
Together, they hatch a plan to protect and excavate the find, with one man leaving to find the necessary equipment.
The other bloke, meanwhile, remains and must endure the harsh desert climate, wolves, and intruders, while battling the creeping doubt that his mate abandoned him.
Portman is currently in Sydney, and has been since at least mid-November.
She’s currently prepping for her role in Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder, costarring Chris Hemsworth.
Portman was literally spotted doing her groceries at Woolies in Double Bay. Daily Mail have all the pics, of course.
This tweet just really sums up my feelings about all of this.
Look I’m generally against the idea of the paparazzi but I feel in 2020 we deserve little photos of American celebrities embracing their newfound inner Australian Normcore (Natalie Portman in Woolies / Zac Efron in Rundle St Mall) pic.twitter.com/pk6IpfUV7t
— Sam Twyford-Moore (@samtwyfordmoore) November 17, 2020
Liam Neeson is currently in Melbourne shooting his new film Blacklight, written and directed by Ozark co-creator Mark Williams.
I assume Blacklight is your typical Liam Neeson thriller, which I will absolutely watch with the family.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Blacklight is the first film to use the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as a studio. Cool, cool.
Other locations include Mt Macedon. They tried to film in Docklands, but it was fully booked unfortunately.
Shooting officially kicked off early last month. You can check out some behind the scenes piccies via the SMH.
Luther actor Idris Elba is in Sydney filming Three Thousand Years of Longing, which sounds… heavy.
According to Deadline, Three Thousand Years of Longing is a fantasy-romance costarring Tilda Swinton. The film will also film in London and Istanbul.
Mad Max: Fury Road filmmaker George Miller is behind the film, but he said it’s anti-Mad Max.
Kate Walsh has been in Perth since March, I kid you not. The Grey’s Anatomy and Umbrella Academy star was holidaying in the city when lockdown hit.
— Kate Walsh (@katewalsh) August 14, 2020
“I was down in Margaret River and then there was a lockdown,” she told 9Honey Celebrity in October. “I got a little place up here in Perth and that’s where I am.”
“I have to say, I love it. I really love Perth. I love the city, I love the people and I feel very, very fortunate, obviously, to have quarantined there and be in WA during this kind of crazy time in the world.”
Walsh, who has extended her visa until December, has been having a lovely time in the city.
She told Nine that she’s heaps keen on bringing some of Hollywood to Perth.
“Why aren’t we shooting movies and television here?” she said. “I’ve been quite passionate and vocal about trying to get that happening. To have a proper studio, so we have access to some of the great international productions that are coming to Australia at large now.”
Back in June, Walsh appeared on Seven’s Flashpoint to do just that.
— @flashpoint7WA (@flashpoint7wa) June 15, 2020
For what it’s worth, Walsh’s influence seems to be working.
The State Government wants to create a mini-Hollywood on the west coast by building a film studio in Perth following US actress Kate Walsh throwing her support behind productions coming to WA. ???? https://t.co/RtwRt9Thyb #wanews #perthnews pic.twitter.com/X7QLcIwwJw
— The West Australian (@westaustralian) August 18, 2020
Mark Wahlberg is apparently in Australia to film a *checks notes* Ladbrokes ad, which seems so on brand.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Wahlberg coughed up an eye-watering $400,000 to isolate in a private property near Byron Bay. Classic.
After completing quarantine, Wahlberg is expected to fly back to Sydney to film the ad.
The cast of Nine Perfect Strangers
Long story short: a bunch of Hollywood stars are in Sydney / Byron Bay right now filming Nine Perfect Strangers, based on Liane Moriarty‘s novel of the same. She’s the same author behind Big Little Lies.
The series follows nine stressed out city folk who arrive at health and wellness resort, Tranquillum House, for a ten-day retreat.
Watching over them is the resort’s director. However, these nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them.
The cast is hefty, and includes Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, and Luke Evans.
My husband Manny Jacinto is also in it, but nobody’s spotted him around… yet.
Kidman has shared a couple of snaps from Byron to her Instagram.
Locals, meanwhile, are pretty pissed at all the traffic production is causing in town.
“It’s a small town, but traffic is so bad due to roadworks AND Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy’s new series shutting off an alternative route to get into town,” an anonymous local told celebrity goss Instagram Deux Moi.
“Productions over the area have also taken over A LOT of rentals. People are mad about the celebrity takeover,” they said.
Back in August, Kidman shared a photo with Moriarty ahead of production.
Evans told Variety that when the actors flew in from the States, they underwent two weeks of mandatory quarantine.
“I can’t see anyone for two weeks,” he told Variety at the time. “I have to be tested every other day. Everything is going to be delivered to my room and I have to stay in a room in Australia and not leave it for two weeks just so that we can then be free to go and shoot something.”
He made it through, though.
By the looks of it, Evans has been having a divine time in NSW.
McCarthy’s been snapped exploring Byron with her daughter, but she’s otherwise kept a pretty low profile here.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher
Borat and our very own Isla Fisher have reportedly moved to Sydney from LA, enrolling their children at a local school.
According to the Daily Mail, Fisher was spotted picking up her kids from their new school.
Just imagine Sacha Baron Cohen spinning his magic on our pollies. Just imagine it.
As an aside, Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu was in Sydney for almost a year because of the pandemic. He, and the team, had been filming Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
They only just wrapped in October.
The film’s slated for release next year.