A chance for shire locations to star
BY SANDRA SIAGIAN
WHAT do Channel Nine’s drama Underbelly: Badness, Channel Ten’s mini-series Puberty Blues and the second Wolverine movie have in common?
They all feature scenes shot in familiar places around Sutherland Shire.
This year alone, the shire has hosted a string of commercials, television and film productions.
Channel Nine filmed scenes around the shire for Tricky Business, a drama set in the Illawarra region, in March. Filming also took place around Caringbah, Taren Point, Cronulla, Miranda, Sutherland and Woolooware.
The network also chose to shoot part of its latest instalment of crime series Underbelly, starring Jodi Gordon and Jonathan LaPaglia, around Cronulla in May.
Viewers may recognise Gunnamatta Park, Alley Break Cafe, Northies, Mundo Latin Grill and Tapas Bar, Fusion Nite Spot, Dunningham Park and Peryman Square during the series.
And Hollywood will come to the shire when part of the second Wolverine flick, starring Hugh Jackman, is filmed at Bonna Point Reserve, Kurnell, in July.
But why are production companies drawn to the region? Sutherland Shire mayor Carol Provan believes it’s the shire’s relaxed lifestyle and scenery that attracts the location scouts.
‘‘We have some of the best beaches in Sydney and we have a great mix of people,’’ she said. ‘‘We invite anyone who wants to come in here and promote the shire to show what it’s really about. We have so much to offer here.’’
Cr Provan wasn’t shy to voice her opinion about Channel Ten series The Shire, previously calling it smutty and distasteful television.
The ‘‘dramality’’ series, which has been shooting at residential addresses, businesses and public places, from Cronulla to Barden Ridge for the past two months, has not been without drama. Two cast members were allegedly cut from the cast following a personal dispute on set in May.
But she welcomed the network’s remake of Puberty Blues, an eight-part mini series produced by Southern Star, which has been shooting in the shire for the past two months.
Locations include Caringbah and Cronulla high schools, Kurnell, Grays Point, Kamay Botany Bay National Park and Sylvania Waters.
‘‘I suppose back in the day when I watched the original film I thought it was a bit risque,’’ Cr Provan said.
‘‘But when you look back at the film made here and compare it to what they are doing now, it was pretty tame.’’
The shire has long been a backdrop for feature films. The Cronulla sand hills transformed into the Libyan desert for wartime epic, The Rats of Tobruk, released in 1944.
Bruce Beresford shot The Adventures of Barry McKenzie with Barry Humphries in 1972 and the original Puberty Blues film in 1981. A wrecked plane in the sand dunes at Cronulla briefly became a tourist destination during filming of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, featuring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. Scenes for the 2006 blockbuster Superman Returns were also shot at Sylvania Waters.