Principal photography has begun on zombie thriller Generation Z, starring Dougray Scott, Jessica de Gouw and Martin McCann.
Set in the wake of an apocalyptic zombie outbreak, the film centres on Melanie (de Gouw) and her boyfriend Lewis (McCann) who visit a safari retreat – The ReZort – where every paying guest has a licence to kill the undead.
There they meet Archer (Scott), a former zombie-hunter who has to step up when the security system at the ReZort crashes and unleashes thousands of bloodthirsty zombies back into the wild.
The film, produced by Matador Pictures, The Captain Starlight Company and UMedia, will be shot on location in Wales and on Mallorca, Spain. UMedia International is handling world sales.
The cast is led by Scott, perhaps best known for his role in Mission:Impossible 2, who recently wrapped shooting on Taken 3. Other main cast includes Jessica de Gouw, star of TV series Dracula and Arrow, and Martin McCann (71, The Pacific). The supporting cast includes Claire Goose, Jassa Ahluwalia and Elen Rhys.
Steve Barker, the British filmmaker behind Nazi zombie feature Outpost and Outpost II, directs from a script by Paul Gerstenberger.
Producers are Nigel Thomas and Charlotte Walls of Matador Pictures (All Is By My Side) and Nick Gillott of The Captain Starlight Company. Executive producer is Karl Richards of UMedia, which majority financed the film, with Gloucester Place Films.
The project was attracted to film in Wales by Gennaker Ltd (working alongside sister company Western Edge Pictures), which runs a new film and media fund.
Rachael Taylor, Margot Robbie, The Hunger Games’ Stef Dawson … rising star Jessica De Gouw has joined a growing list of Aussie actresses that have found Hollywood easier to crack than their own, homegrown film industry.
Like most “overnight sensations,” the 26-year-old West Australian would like to think that she at least paid some of her dues.
But even De Gouw is surprised by the speed with which her career took off after she moved to Los Angeles two years ago.
fter landing her first screen role in Southern Star TV series The Sleepover Club at the tender age of 16, De Gouw decided that, in the interests of career longevity, she should first study her craft at Curtin University before attempting the difficult feat of making it as a professional actor.
On graduation, she moved to Sydney to look for work.
“I did bit and bobs of TV and film,’’ says the actress during a break from filming TV series Deadline Gallipoli with Sam Worthington and Hugh Dancy.
“But it was hard to crack so I thought I would just take the leap. I first went to LA in mid-2012 – packed a bag and went over there.”
Within a month, she had landed a role in Arrow, the successful TV series based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, which premiered in the US in October that same year. A third season is already well into production in Vancouver.
“Initially it was supposed to only be a two-episode arc,’’ says de Gouw.
“But they never wrote out my character because fans really like her – I think because she’s a trouble maker.
“The show has an amazing following and the fans are very passionate.
“It’s opened up this whole new storyline – Birds of Prey – with the three female butt-kickers, which looks like it might be a possibility in the future.”
IT WAS during a 10-minute standing ovation for Australian movie These Final Hours at this year’s Cannes Film Festival that young Perth actor Jessica de Gouw knew she had chosen the right career path.
“To have gained such a response … that’s why I’m an actress,’’ de Gouw says. “Cannes was amazing. We had no idea what to expect and how the film would be received.
“As soon as the credits ended and the lights came up it was an amazing feeling to have connected with an international audience.
“When we arrived for the first screening there were queues around the block. The amount of people who have already reached out to this film … for the film to have moved so many people … it’s pretty fulfilling to experience this.’’
These Final Hours, directed by Australian Zac Hilditch from his award-winning screenplay, follows the last day of self-obsessed James (Nathan Phillips) as he makes his way to the ultimate apocalyptic party as the end of the world draws near.
James’ first stop is to visit his secret lover Zoe, played by de Gouw, who is at a beach shack and wants a genuine connection before the apocalyptic fire ball hits Perth.
Zoe is expecting the couple’s baby and their meeting is revealed in flashback as James decides to leave Zoe to party with his other friends, including girlfriend Vicky (Queensland’s Kathryn Beck).
The four-hour TV miniseries co-produced by Worthington, tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign through the eyes of Australian war correspondents Charles Bean (Joel Jackson) and Keith Murdoch (Ewen Leslie), photographer Philip Schuler (Sam Worthington) and Britain’s Ellis Ashmead Bartlett (Hugh Dancy). Charles Dance arrives next week to play the British General Sir Ian Hamilton who heads the British command at Gallipoli. Worthington is not expected in Adelaide until the following week.
In rehearsal late last week Hugh Dancy, who is married to US actor Claire Danes, said he came into the role knowing relatively little about the Anzacs. In his coverage of the Gallipoli campaign, British journalist Bartlett wrote of the bravery of the Australian soldiers and is credited with starting the Anzac legend.
“I am interested because the focus of this in particular is the myth makers,” he said. “For better or for worse we mythologise things because they’re remarkable and they deserve to be remembered, and also because they’re such horrific events we can’t think of another way to respond to them.”
Dancy will be in South Australia until August but will fly home for a two-week break in July to see Danes, who is currently shooting a fourth season of the US terrorist thriller Homeland.
Winning the role of Charles Bean is a big break for NIDA graduate Joel Jackson, 22, a former musician from Western Australia who made a selfie screen test in remote Karratha using a camera on top of a crayfish crate after a day working in the mines.
Jackson has since read everything he can find about the Oxford-educated war historian C.E.W. Bean, including his diary, and has visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra where Bean’s papers are held. He says the Anzac legend has helped Australians forge a sense of national identity by providing a common point of history and a story people can connect with.
“Anzac Day for me is the most special day of the year, always has been,” he says. “I grew up in Albany which is where they departed for Cairo and every year my grandfather would tell you the traditions of the Anzacs.”
Sydney-based actor Ewen Leslie has the job of playing Keith Murdoch, the war correspondent, publisher and father of Rupert Murdoch who smuggled out a letter critical of the British command. Leslie, a theatre actor and familiar face from TV shows like Love My Way and Redfern Now, said he had read what he could find about Sir Keith.
“I suppose you take as much stuff as you can and try to put together a picture of someone,” he said. “You bring parts of yourself to him and hopefully meet in the middle.”
Deadline Gallipoli, commissioned by Foxtel, is the third Gallipoli project to come to South Australia in less than a year following the ABC miniseries Anzac Girlsand Russell Crowe’s blockbuster film The Water Diviner. The SA Government has invested $618,000 in Worthington’s project which will use the Adelaide Studios and locations including Maslins Beach which will double as Anzac Cove. It is expected to give a $6 million boost to the economy.
Other actors to join the nine-week shoot are Rachel Griffiths, who plays Sir Ian’s society wife, Bryan Brown as General William Bridges and two Australian actors based in LA, Anna Torv who stars in the US series Fringe, and Jessica De Gouw from the television series Dracula and Arrow. The director is Australian Michael Rymer who, with Dancy, has just finished shooting a season of the television series Hannibalin Canada.