Hollywood star Liam Neeson is heading back to Victoria this month to film the sequel to action thriller The Ice Road with the production set to inject more than $30 million into the state’s economy.
The Gippsland town of Walhalla will provide the backdrop for the sequel, Ice Road 2:Road to the Sky, which follows Neeson’s character Mike McCann on a high-octane adventure through Nepal’s treacherous mountainscape.
The original, filmed in the Canadian city of Manitoba in 2021, debuted Neeson’s character as a ‘big rig’ ice road driver leading a rescue mission over a frozen lake to save a group of trapped miners.
Jonathan Hensleigh, the writer and director of the original who lists Die Hard with a Vengeance, Armageddon and Jumanji among his writing credits, is back on board for the sequel which will also involve shoot locations across Melbourne and the use of the state-of-the art volume screens and technology at NantStudios at Docklands.
Neeson’s most recent work in Victoria dates back to 2020 when he filmed the conspiracy thriller Blacklight.
That film supported more than 700 jobs and generated $23 million in economic activity. The Victorian Government estimates that Ice Road 2:Road to the Sky will support about 600 jobs.
“Victoria is a sought-after destination for international productions because of our phenomenal locations, state-of-the-art screen infrastructure and renowned local talent and crew,” says Victoria’sActing Minister for Creative Industries Natalie Hutchins.
“Ice Road 2 is part of a strong pipeline of local and international productions that will power our screen industry this year, creating jobs, boosting local businesses and showcasing Victoria to the world.”
The production, which begins filming this month, has also been supported by the federal government’s Location Incentive and the Victorian Screen Incentive and Regional Location Assistance Fund.
Playing alongside Neeson in the sequel will be Australians Bernard Curry (Wentworth, Savage River), Geoff Morrell (Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Harrow) and Grace O'Sullivan (Erinsborough High, Neighbours).
The Code Entertainment-Shivhans-EMA production joins a slate of major projects filming in the state, with the Netflix series Apple Cider Vinegar and The Survivors in production, as well as Werner Film Production’s The Newsreader returning for a third season.
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