Film incentives to help decide location of next Proyas shoot
The director of I, Robot will shoot a $150 million movie in Australia from early next year but whether it will be in Sydney or Melbourne depends on a scrap over filmmaking incentives.
Alex Proyas, the Australian filmmaker who has also made The Crow, Dark City and Knowing, has started pre-production in Sydney on Gods of Egypt, an action epic that will star Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush and Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Set in mythical ancient Egypt, it centres on a young thief, played by former Home and Away star Brenton Thwaites, who enlists the help of the gods to bring his beloved back from the dead.
Butler, Rush and Coster-Waldau play the Egyptian gods Set, Ra and Horus. Proyas said the shoot could still be in Melbourne depending on the filmmaking incentives offered by NSW and Victoria.
''We definitely want to shoot in Australia,'' he said. ''It will either be in Sydney or Melbourne.
''It's who gives us the best scenario.''
Proyas has previously shot movies in both cities - Dark City and Garage Days in Sydney and Knowing in Melbourne.
A decade ago, he planned to shoot I, Robot in Australia until higher financial incentives lured what became a sci-fi hit to Canada.
Speaking after a talk at the Australian Directors Guild Conference on his career, Proyas said the value of the dollar was still too high to attract big budget Hollywood productions.
As with The Great Gatsby, The Wolverine and Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, which is being filmed in Queensland before shifting to Sydney soon, additional incentives were needed to justify shooting in Australia.
''It's really hard getting these big movies here,'' Proyas said. ''Obviously I have a vested interest and I struggle like crazy but if at the end of the day the budget works out better in Vancouver or somewhere in Europe, it's very hard for me to argue that case.
''So whatever we can get to help our cause here, financially speaking, just makes it possible to bring the movie here.''
Until last year, Proyas planned to shoot a big-budget adaption of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, with Bradley Cooper as Lucifer, in Australia.
See your ad hereBut the movie was shut down in pre-production over concerns about the $120 million-plus budget given the complex visual effects.
Proyas called the collapse of that movie ''totally heartbreaking'' and said that, being Egyptian born, he had long wanted to make a movie set in ancient Egypt.
He has written the script for Gods of Egypt with Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, who are behind the coming horror movie Dracula Untold.