Date: 10th February 2003

Cruz film snubs Sydney

A BIG-BUDGET film production has been switched from Sydney to Canada so that the French director can work in his mother tongue.
The producer of Gothika, Joel Silver, confirmed to showbiz reporter Michael Bodey the film starring Halle Berry and PenÚlope Cruz had moved to Montreal because its French director, Matthieu Kassovitz, preferred a French-Canadian location.

"I know, we were all set for Sydney but the director wanted somewhere he could speak French and all that," Silver said at the Enter The Matrix game launch in Los Angeles.

"But don't worry, I'm bringing two TV series down there soon, so you're not going to miss out."

A Hollywood insider said Silver had singlehandedly yanked these series from their proposed Canadian locations because he had enjoyed working in Sydney on the three Matrix films.

But it is believed Berry also had a large say in shooting in Canada. No wonder considering her last, strange visit to Sydney in which she claimed to have been punched by a taxi driver. She didn't press charges and a subsequent Department of Transport investigation yielded nothing.

Silver's pilots for Sydney are Future Tense, for the NBC network, about an elite law enforcement unit of the future, written by Boomtown creator Javier Grillo-Marxauch, Newton, about future technologies. Casts haven't been finalised.

It is another blow to the Australian film industry which has seen Alex Proyas' sci-fi film, I, Robot, and the $150 million sequel to Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, starring Vin Diesel, both suddenly move to Canada.

Even crueller is the outcome for Sydney's Fox Studios, which has turned away at least three major US films due to "pencil bookings" such as I, Robot and Gothika which were later erased.

The Daily Telegraph

Source: Press Release