SNL's Pete Davidson to star in QLD feature film ‘Wizards!'

SNL's Pete Davidson to star in QLD feature film ‘Wizards!'

Pete Davidson (by Mary Ellen Matthews, NBC)

The Australian screen sector has bagged two major wins today, with the announcements that Pete Davidson will star in a feature film in tropical Queensland, while a new Stan Original series to be filmed in New South Wales will inject $21 million into the national economy.

Both the Federal and Queensland governments are celebrating securing the filming of feature film Wizards! today, with the comedy to be produced by Brad Pitt’s company Plan B Entertainment, See Saw Films and global distributors A24.

US comedian Pete Davidson will star in the movie which was written by David Michôd (best known for writing Animal Kingdom and The King), based on a story by Michôd and Australian film icon Joel Edgerton, known for his early work in the TV series The Secret Life of Us and more recently in The Underground Railroad, as well as starring in an extensive array of films such as Ned Kelly, The Great Gatsby, Star Wars productions, and his critically-acclaimed directorial debut The Gift.

Production of Wizards! is expected to create more than 500 jobs in Queensland once filming commences later this year.

The film will follow the comical exploits of two beach-bar operators (Pete Davidson and Franz Rogowski) who run into trouble when they stumble across stolen treasure.

“What a coup for Queensland,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“Once again, our local film industry and picture-perfect locations have lured another valuable production with big budgets to spend in our regions.

“Wizards! will inject approximately $14.7 million into our state economy and create around 100 jobs for Queensland cast and crew, as well as nearly 300 opportunities for extras — which I’m sure will be great news for local industry practitioners and the community alike.”

Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said Wizards! was the 16th production to be drawn to Queensland by the Federal Government’s Location Incentive which gave the production $3.6 million in funding.

“In Queensland alone, this successful program has now generated more than 11,800 jobs for cast and crew,” Minister Fletcher said.

“In addition to the jobs it will create directly, the productionis expected to utilise the services of 400 local businesses.”

The production is also supported by $1.183 million from the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland's Production Attraction Strategy.

The announcement comes ahead of the global release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and Netflix’s Escape from Spiderhead starring Chris Hemsworth, which were both filmed in Queensland on the Gold Coast.

“Queensland is a globally renowned screen production hub. Screen Queensland is continuously pitching our state’s locations, studios, skilled screen workforce and valuable incentives,” Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said.

“Screen Queensland is delighted to welcome Plan B Entertainmentto Queensland for the first time, and we are glad to see the return of See-Saw Films since they filmed their 2020 Foxtel/Sky series The End on the Gold Coast.

NSW welcomes Stan Original series Ten Pound Poms

In other screen news, a new Stan Original series produced by the team behind Netflix’s award-winning series Sex Education has been secured for New South Wales, with Ten Pound Poms to film in the coming months.

The series is a drama about a group of Brits starting new lives in Australia in 1956, and was secured by the state following a $2.9 million commitment from the Federal Government’s Location Incentive.

Produced by Eleven Film, Ten Pound Poms is expected to inject more than $21 million into the Australian economy according to Minister Fletcher.

“We are pleased to welcome Ten Pound Poms down under, with $2.8 million in support from our highly successful Location Incentive, with the production providing employment for more than 200 Australian cast and crew, and more than 1000 Australian extras,” Minister Fletcher said.

Eleven Film executive producer Joel Wilson said it was a privilege to film the series in Australia.

“We are deeply passionate about the stories of the hundreds of thousands who took part in the assisted migration scheme to Australia,” Wilson said.

“We’re deeply grateful to the Australian and NSW Governments for the support that has made it possible to bring this production to Australia.”

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