April 24, 2014
AUSTRALIAN Hollywood star Nicole Kidman has been spotted in Broken Hill, filming scenes for a new mystery thriller, Strangerland.
The 46-year-old actor arrived at the set, an old storage yard, in the remote New South Wales town on Thursday afternoon.
Kidman and British co-star Joseph Fiennes play a married couple whose teenage children go missing in the Outback.
The film also stars Hugo Weaving as the policeman leading the investigation.
The actor has managed to keep a low profile in Broken Hill since arriving in the Outback town to film the $32 million production, but Weaving was spotted several times in a cafe and at The Palace Hotel, where he shared a beer with resident Jon Hanrahan.
“I had Monday off because the hotel was closed, and I sort of went up and checked the balcony, and a few of the film crew were there and Hugo was there having a drink, so I had a few drinks with them,” Mr Hanrahan said.
“A friend of mine has his own distillery so he tried some of his rum, and he met my dog and had a play with him for about an hour.”
The friendly encounter led to Mr Hanrahan’s dog Lupo securing a role in the new film.
“(The scene) is called dingo walking in bush, I think,” he said.
Barrier Daily Truth journalist Erica Visser also saw Weaving at the hotel.
A colleague and Ms Visser managed to get a quick photo with the actor.
“We waited til Hugo ate dinner then we caught him as he was trying to slick out the little back exit, and got the photo there,” she said.
The crew are in Broken Hill for about three weeks.
A second project will also begin filming in Broken Hill, on May 5.
Last Cab to Darwin, a smaller-budget movie starring Jacki Weaver and Michael Caton, is based on the story of a former resident, Max Bell, who drove to Darwin in his Holden taxi in 1996 to use legislation in the Northern Territory that gave the terminally ill the right to die.
Broken Hill Mayor Wincen Cuy said having both productions filming in town is a great economic boost for the community.
“But also it gives a sense of pride and enjoyment. It’s a good feeling the whole community really feels good about themselves as well,” he said.
“I think Nicole is keeping a very low profile. All I hope is that Nicole has been able to enjoy Broken Hill and all it has to offer and see the sights,” he said.
Strangerland producer Macdara Kelleher said filming the last leg of the story was particularly draining.
“It’s very intense, it’s about two kids that go missing and the effect it has on the parents who are Nicole and Joseph (Fiennes),” Kelleher said.
Kelleher said having Kidman in the role was a dream come true, given the Oscar winning actor has not filmed an Australian role using her own accent since Dead Calmin 1989.
“It’s amazing, we couldn’t ask for anyone better in terms of your ideal casting,” he said. “If you’re making an Australian movie and it has Nicole in it, it’s pretty special.