March 31, 2014
A small NSW country town is gearing up for the arrival of a Hollywood superstar.
Preparations are in full swing in Canowindra, in central west NSW, for the arrival of Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman, with plans for its main street to be closed while the filming of Strangerland takes place over the next fortnight.
Crew members have already started turning up ahead of filming and locals are buzzing about Kidman’s imminent arrival.
“Everyone’s certainly very excited about it, it’s great for the town. They’ve booked out a lot of the accommodation,” Stephanie Watson, who owns the Royal Hotel in Canowindra with her husband John, said.
Mrs Watson said a segment of filming would take place in the hotel and parts of the main street of Canowindra would also be closed down for the shoot, which sees Kidman starring alongside Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes in a story about a couple whose teenage children go missing.
Canowindra, which has a population of 2000, is usually known for its annual ballooning festival and is only about 45 minutes from Orange.
But it will provide the beautiful, rustic backdrop needed for parts of the film.
“It’s not the first time a movie has been shot here — we had an episode of Inspector Morse and Kangaroo Jack(starring Jerry O’Connell),” Des Bridekirk, who runs the Riverview Motel with his wife Julie, said.
But he said Kidman’s involvement in Strangerland was certainly causing a buzz
in the town.
“Everyone knows she’s in this and she’s coming and there’s a fair bit of expectation and excitement about it all,” Mr Bridekirk said.
A casting call for extras was held among Canowindra residents a few weeks ago, with 400 people turning up.
Although the production wanted people of all ages, they mainly selected older women and a group of young boys who could ride dirtbikes.
Kidman is expected to take her children Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret during her filming stint, with husband Keith Urban in tow.
While locals have no idea where the family is staying — “it’s very secretive”, Mr Bridekirk said — they are hoping they will enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the town.
Strangerland will be released next year.