Zac Efron, Ryan Gosling among Hollywood actors to boost local film industry

Zac Efron and Ryan Gosling are the latest big-name stars to hit town to make movies.

Zac Efron and Ryan Gosling are the latest big-name stars to hit town to make movies. Photo: TND

Zac Efron continues his love of making movies in Australia, and touched down in Melbourne this week before two months’ filming for his latest venture, Ricky Stanicky.

He’s not the only one unpacking his bags. Trainwreck and The Suicide Squad co-star John Cena is also here for the action-comedy.

Like Efron and Cena, Ryan Gosling (Barbie, The Gray Man) is temporarily relocating, this time to the harbour city.

On January 22 he was seen filming an action sequence across Sydney Harbour Bridge for The Fall Guy, a film adaptation of the 1980s TV series of the same name.

Economic boost

Both films, the latest in a long list of major movies in production across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, will inject more than $300 million in the nation’s economy.

Ricky Stanicky will create more than 350 jobs for Victorian crew and 850 roles for local cast, while The Fall Guy will shoot across the northern beaches and in regional NSW, employing 1000 Australian cast and crew members and an astonishing 3000 Australian extras.

Oscar-winning Victorian producer Paul Currie, renowned international sales agent and producer Thorsten Schumacher and comedy producer John Jacobs are teaming up to produce Ricky Stanicky.

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said it will strengthen the state’s cinematic reputation.

“This production will once again showcase the state as global screen leader, sending a clear message to the rest of the world that Victoria is the place to be,” he said.

Ricky Stanicky

Attracted to the state through the Australian government’s Location Incentive along with support from the Victorian government through VicScreen’s Victorian Screen Incentive, the film will be directed by Oscar winner Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Hall Pass).

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in Australia – and, specifically, in Melbourne, where I spent my honeymoon 26 years ago,” said Farrelly in a statement.

“And to finally get to make the movie that I’ve been trying to make for 10 years, it’s a dream come true.”

Over an eight-week period, Melbourne will double for Providence, Rhode Island.

Ricky Stanicky follows three childhood friends who pull a prank and burn down a house in their neighbourhood.

They create a fake person to take the blame and call him … Ricky Stanicky.

Twenty years later, they’ve been using this alibi to get out of every uncomfortable situation in life.

When their wives force them to set up a meeting with Stanicky, they hire a washed-up, destructive actor (Cena) to bring him to life with dire, yet hilarious consequences.

For the musically talented Efron, 35, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for The Greatest Showman, this film is his second with Farrelly, who co-wrote and directed The Greatest Beer Run Ever with Russell Crowe.

Efron has form in Australia, shooting outback thriller Gold in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges in 2020.

The Disney and High School Musical alum also starred in hit wildlife series for Netflix, Down to Earth, where he travelled across the country, learning about First Nations, our eco-systems, farming practices, Tasmania devils and koalas.

During a chat with Men’s Health in Los Angeles in September, he revealed he lives and travels light.

“I’m in a van trying to travel and see as much of the world as I can, or just hiking in the woods and camping,” and has 10 T-shirts, five pairs of workout shorts, a couple of pairs of pants and sweatshirts, and two Lululemon shorts-and-hoodie tracksuits.

The Fall Guy

Meanwhile, Gosling, 42, his wife Eva Mendes and their children Amada, 6, and Esmeralda, 8, reportedly rented a property in Sydney’s Darlinghurst when they flew in late last year for The Fall Guy.

Mendes previously told The Daily Telegraph their daughters have picked up “little Aussie twangs” while they’ve been in Sydney, being home-schooled until the film’s completion.

Gosling has been seen filming across Sydney, including on the bridge, which was closed to traffic for seven hours on January 22.

According to Screen Australia, the film is still in pre-production and is set for release in 2024.

Over in South Australia, filming has just wrapped on First Nations film The New Boy starring Cate Blanchett, who also acted as producer.

Set in 1940s Australia, this is the story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy (portrayed by newcomer Aswan Reid) who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery, run by a renegade nun (Blanchett).

Last year, three films – The King’s Daughter (Pierce Brosnan), Blacklight (Liam Neeson) and Shantaram were all filmed in Victoria.

The Greatest Showman director, Victoria’s own Michael Gracey, has been filming Robbie Williams’ biopic Better Man and sci-fi drama Foe, directed by Victorian Garth Davis and starring Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal (Aftersun), has recently wrapped.


In April, VicScreen announced its biggest-ever screen production is being made in Melbourne.

Metropolis is an epic new TV series by NBCUniversal’s Universal Studio Group and was inspired by the revolutionary Fritz Lang science-fiction work in 1927.

The sci-fi series was attracted to the state through the Victorian Screen Incentive grant as the first in a pipeline of projects from NBCU, expected to inject $416 million directly into the Victorian economy over coming years.

The eight-part series will create 3980 local jobs, including 500 Victorian cast and crew and over 2400 extras, and 600 Victorian businesses and service providers will benefit from the local production.

Other projects

So what else is on the drawing board?

There is a vast catalogue of films, TV series and documentaries under way this year.

  • Land of Bad: In production in Queensland, starring Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth
  • Devil Inside: In pre-production, starring Ryan Kwanten
  • Untitled Godzilla vs Kong sequel: In pre-production
  • Run Rabbit Run: In pre-production, starring Sarah Snook (Succession), Julia Davis, Damon Herriman and Greta Scacchi. Snook plays a fertility doctor who believes firmly in life and death, but after noticing strange behaviour from her daughter, must challenge her values and confront a ghost from her past.
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