An “epic” prequel to the Mad Max film franchise starring Hollywood superstar Chris Hemsworth will be filmed in NSW, pumping $350 million into the state’s economy.
The blockbuster Furiosa, which is slated for release in mid-2023, will employ 850 people and is expected to become the biggest film to be made in Australia.
After having to leave Australia to find work in the US, Hemsworth said it was a dream come true to be able to film such an iconic project at home.
“This will be my fourth or fifth film here in Australia,” he said in Sydney on Monday.
“[But] it really is, out of everything I’ve done, the biggest pinch myself moment, because I’ve grown up watching it and it’s so iconic.”
“It is a huge honour – a lot of pressure but exciting pressure that is certainly motivating.”
Stars and crews alike will travel to various locations across the state, including Broken Hill, to shoot the film, which will span several years.
Filmmaker George Miller – who created the Mad Max franchise, starring Mel Gibson, with Byron Kennedy in 1979 – said he was extremely grateful to shoot the film in his home country, thanks to significant financial support from the state and federal governments.
“I had friends in England shooting movies that were shut down two or three times,” he said.
He is equally excited by the role Australia’s film boom is playing in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When you look at the credits of a film, there are lots and lots of jobs,” he said.
“I can’t think of one discipline or one profession that is not used in film.”
“Being able to make this film here … it means that we’re keeping the talent here – that really brilliant talent who previously went overseas.”
The Queen’s Gambit lead Anya Taylor-Joy will also star in the film, as a younger version of Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron in 2015 blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the film reinforced the state’s status as the cultural capital of Australia.
“Our government is incredibly proud of the talent we have, we want to harness it here in NSW,” she said.
“We’re using it to create jobs, to build up the industry and to make sure that, Sydney, NSW and Australia are cultural icons.”
NSW Treasurer Dom Perrottet said Furiosa was being partly paid for by the “Made in NSW” fund, which was worth $175 million per film over five years.
“The reality is, if you want to make a movie in Australia, you don’t want to make it in Queensland, you want to make it in NSW,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We are by far the most generous when it come to film investment.”
Federal Minister for Arts Paul Fletcher said Australia was experiencing a boom in the film industry thanks to the country’s virtual elimination of COVID-19.
A location incentive established by the federal government, worth $540 million over eight years, had brought 22 productions down under so far, Mr Fletcher said.
“There’s no more iconic Australian franchise than Mad Max,” he said.