Travel may be off the books for many this year due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped this celebrity set from travelling to Australia.
Many film and TV productions are taking place in Australia in 2020 and 2021 –– thanks to our relatively low number of COVID cases, as well as our government’s $400 million Location Incentive which is designed to encourage film productions to filming here.
There’s a disproportionately high number of big-name celebs who have come Down Under for work, some of them even choosing to buy property and settle down.
Why is Natalie Portman in Australia?
Natalie Portman has been seen out and about all around Sydney in the second half of 2020. She arrived in September with her husband and child and, after a two-week hotel quarantine, settled down in Sydney.
She’s here to film the upcoming Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder, and has been seen arriving on set at Fox Studios. The movie will also star Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt, though they aren’t set to officially begin filming until next year. It’s understood that Portman is here to do screen tests and wardrobe fittings before filming begins.
Why are Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher in Australia?
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher have been spotted in Sydney, enrolling their three kids in a local school here. Fisher grew up in Perth, but moved to Sydney to begin her career –– which is where she met Cohen back in 2002.
It seems as though the couple moved to Australia after Fisher was cast in an upcoming animated Netflix film called Back To The Outback, starring other local actors including Eric Bana, Keith Urban, Tim Minchin and Celeste Barber.
The Home And Away actress has in the past mentioned her desire to settle down back home in Australia.
“I have this secret fantasy of slowing down, moving to Byron Bay, getting off the grid and sitting on the sand with a Vegemite sandwich,” she told Marie Claire in 2018.
Why is Kate Walsh in Australia?
“I was down in Margaret River and then there was a lockdown. I got a little place up here in Perth and that’s where I am,” she told 9Honey Celebrity last month. “And 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.”
But Walsh isn’t in a hurry to return to her New York apartment just yet — she’s too busy enjoying the odd AFL match, plus she sees Perth’s production potential and would love to build a studio and film a project there.
“One of the first thoughts I had when I looked around Perth was, ‘Why aren’t we shooting movies and television here?'” said Walsh, who has extended her visa until December. “So 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.”
Why is Zac Efron in Australia?
Fans squealed with delight when news swept social media that Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron was in Australia. The actor was first spotted in the NSW coastal town of Byron Bay in June, with diners noticing him at a local cafe.
“Don’t mean to alarm anyone but Zac Efron was literally eating at the same cafe as me when this was taken,” influencer Tarsha Whitmore captioned a June 18 Instagram photo from The General Store cafe.
It turns out Efron didn’t come here film a movie or project — it appears he just chose Australia to ride out the coronavirus pandemic. But after just a few months in the country, he was cast in the upcoming Stan original series Gold, and is currently filming in Adelaide.
Locals have spotted him around the city, in trendy bars and buying a pair of RM Williams boots.
Before relocating to South Australia, Efron spent months living in Byron Bay, with reports he’ll follow Chris Hemsworth‘s lead and buy a property there.
The High School Musical star has long been a fan of Australia, gushing to AAP in 2012, “What I love about Australia, which is what we don’t have in California, is there are so many wide open beaches where no-one is at.”
Why are Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy and Luke Evans in Australia?
With the stars all descending to the Southern Highlands in NSW, the region may as well rename itself Hollywood.
Leading the way is Nicole Kidman, who will star and produce the mini-series Nine Perfect Strangers, which will be filmed in the region as well as in Byron Bay.
The Aussie actress arrived back home in Australia last month with husband Keith Urban and daughters Sunday and Faith.
Kidman’s co-producer, Melissa McCarthy, is also Down Under with her family as she prepares to play Frances, the show’s protagonist.
McCarthy was seen in Byron Bay — another of the show’s filming locations — on August 9, one day before filming commenced.
Welsh actor Luke Evans arrived a few weeks ago in Australia and happily quarantined in a Sydney hotel before joining the cast. But it’s not all work for the actor — just after quarantine and prior to filming, he enjoyed some down time exploring the Minyon Falls in NSW.
Also filming in Australia for Nine Perfect Strangers are Michael Shannon, Regina Hall, Manny Jacinto, Tiffany Boone, Melvin Gregg, Grace Van Patten, Asher Keddie and Samara Weaving.
Filming is currently underway on the mini-series, which is scheduled to wrap in mid-December. The eight-part series revolves around nine Aussies who spend 10 days together at a remote health retreat in the bush — Kidman plays a mysterious Russian woman named Masha, who runs the retreat.
The project sees the actress team up with her Big Little Lies co-producer Bruna Papandrea and novelist Liane Moriarty, who wrote both BLL and Nine Perfect Strangers.
“We can’t wait to introduce you to #NinePerfectStrangers,” Kidman wrote on Instagram days ago as she and Moriarty brainstormed over coffee.