THE last time Hugo Weaving, star of new South Australian film The Last Ride, travelled to the Flinders Ranges was in 1993 and he was in drag and on a bus.
"We drove from Broken Hill through the Flinders Ranges and up to Coober Pedy on Priscilla (Queen of the Desert, in 1994)," Weaving said during a break in rehearsals at the Directors Hotel in Gouger St. "So I’ve been up to the area we’re going (but) on a slightly different film."
The Last Ride, which begins its six-week shoot tomorrow, is one of five movies being produced in SA this year.
The state’s booming film industry is well on track to meet a target of six feature films a year by 2014.
Weaving plays a violent father on the run from the law with his young son Chook, played by Beaumont schoolboy Tom Russell, 10.
The $4 million SA Film Corporation production will cross 3000km of the state over the coming weeks, including locations at Port Wakefield, Quorn, Wilpena Pound, Lake Gairdner and Port Augusta. Weaving, best known for his work as the evil Agent Smith in The Matrix and as Elrond in The Lord of the Rings, had nothing but praise for his young SA co-star.
"He’s great, I really like him a lot," Weaving said.
Weaving has been back in Australia for less than a month, after finishing work in London on the $88 million horror film The Wolf Man in late June. That film co-stars Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro.
Weaving said he chose projects based on the quality of the script, rather than the budget, which is why he was excited about The Last Ride.
"The best films I’ve done have been films like this," he said.
Director Glendyn Ivin, who won the Palm D’Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for his short film Cracker Bag, said the film explored if the children of bad parents could grow up without becoming bad parents themselves.