Gold Coast pitched as location for Star Wars production
GOLD Coast mayor Tom Tate has written to the bosses of Star Wars to get Baby Yoda, stormtroopers, ewoks and bounty hunters on to Gold Coast beaches.
The city has been pitched as a safe haven for US movie networks as the ravaged film industry looks to rebound from COVID-19.
Cr Tate wrote to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney, the bosses of the Star Wars franchise, to try and lure big productions to the Coast.
"The time is right to attract not just productions from Hollywood but Bollywood - let's lure them out of Mumbai," he said.
"The streaming services all produce their own content and demand is skyrocketing.
"Star Wars particularly would be cool and the pitch is simple - we have so many different locations which can represent different planets - everything from beaches to rainforests and urban landscapes as well as the studio space to recreate everything else."
The Gold Coast has established itself as a serious filmmaking location in the past decade, being home to Thor: Ragnaork, San Andreas, Aquaman, Kong: Skull Island andPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Screen Queensland says the US media landscape is enthusiastic about heading to Australia, having fielded inquiries to $1.2 billion worth of potential film and TV projects.
The Mayor, a self-confessed science fiction buff, said securing one of the upcoming big-budget Star Wars television series and Bollywood productions would mean hundreds of jobs in the arts industry.
He said he was prepared to spearhead a public-private partnership to build another studio if it meant getting the deal done.
The record-breaking Star Wars saga made the move to television last year with the critical and commercial hit The Mandalorian, a space western featuring a masked bounty hunter.
Production of a second series featuring the character was completed before the COVID shutdown in March
Two further series have been announced - a Rogue One spin-off featuring Rebel Alliance spy Cassian Andor, starring Diego Luna, and Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries.
New Screen Queensland chief executive Kylie Munnich said there was strong demand from overseas productions looking for a new home.
"Screen Queensland has fielded many inquiries from production companies all around the world, eyeing our state as a destination for safely hosting film and TV projects," she said.
"Our priority is to get productions rolling again, securely, to get cast and crew back to work all over the state."
"Screen Queensland helped develop the national COVID-Safe guidelines for the production sector.
"And we have worked with Queensland Health to support local companies wishing to recommence production."
Production of Baz Luhrmann's untitled Elvis biopic was suspended on March 12 when star Tom Hanks tested positive for COVID-19.
Hanks remains in the US and it remains unclear when production will resume.
Cr Tate insisted the Gold Coast was "one of the safest places on earth".
"We have had no fatalities and no new cases for weeks," he said.
"And with the largest sound stage in the southern hemisphere, a council that is willing to cut red tape, a diverse landscape and amazing weather, we would be surprised if the production companies weren't knocking on the door."
Production has already resumed on one Gold Coast-made television series, the second season of The Bureau of Magical Things, while Cairns is home to the filming of romantic comedy film This Little Love of Mine.
Originally published as Gold Coast pitched as location for Star Wars production