A win for regional tourism and the Kelly story.
Filmed in multiple locations in Victoria, including Winton Wetlands, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang will open in Australian cinemas on January 9, before its Australia Day streaming premiere on Stan.
The bushranger epic is based on the Booker Prize winning novel of the same name by Peter Carey, and stars George MacKay as Ned Kelly with Russell Crowe as his mentor Harry Power, Nicholas Hoult as Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, Charlie Hunnam as Sergeant O’Neil and Essie Davis as Ned’s mother Ellen Kelly. The cast also includes Thomasin McKenzie, Earl Cave, Claudia Karvan and introducing Orlando Schwerdt as Young Ned.
The film’s release is buoyed by positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and coincides with MacKay’s other starring role in 1917, the First World War movie that is also due for summer release.
Produced by Porchlight Film’s Liz Watts, Daybreak Pictures’ Hal Vogel, Kurzel and Paul Ranford and adapted by Shaun Grant, the film ‘detonates a punk power-chord of defiance and anarchy with this brutally violent and unflinchingly stark tale that unfolds in a scorched, alien-looking landscape’.
That landscape was a combination of the skeletal remnant red gums at Winton Wetlands, the snow-topped rocky outcrops of Lake Mountain and the historically poignant Clunes Town Hall. The sweeping panoramic shots and eery backdrops created a dramatic addition to an already impressive story and cast.
“After filming onsite in winter 2018, we are thrilled to see the film released… and see our site on show for the world to see” said Daniel Basham, Winton Wetlands CEO.
The Location Manager was keen for places that complemented the drama of the dialogue and provided possibilities for the surrounds to catapult the story. After several site visits over the months leading up to filming from Kurzel and his crew, they were able to envisage both the creative and realistic elements, and balance what was feasible.
“The cast and crew were an absolute pleasure to have here – even during some extreme weather they were receptive and respectful to the site, our Traditional Owners, our staff and our neighbours”
“During the filming, all cast and crew stayed in the region, which was a welcome injection into our visitor economy”
“The buzz that was created by the cast being in and around town was wonderful for both Benalla and Wangaratta, and surrounds”