Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Hometown Blogathon

Home is where the heart is - Caz over at Let's Go To The Movies is hosting her first ever blogathon, and it's all about sharing the defining features of our home towns. 

It's pretty simple - just a quick post detailing the big names, films and shows that've sprung from your town, whether they be international megastars or someone more locally-known.

Whilst I was born in Bristol, England, my family moved out to Perth, Australia in 2008. So, I figured I'd centre my post around that. Also, it's a lot harder to drum up examples for Perth - pretty much everyone knows a bunch of people and shows from Bristol. So, here's my 101 on movies in Perth. Enjoy!

Perth is fairly unique amongst other Australian cities owing to its isolated situation on the west coast of Australia - encircled by the expansive desert to the East and the Indian Ocean to the west, Perth is actually the most isolated capital city in the world. It's a five-hour flight from here to Sydney, meaning Asian cities like Jakarta and Singapore are actually closer. Weird, huh?

The isolated nature of Perth has had a profound impact on the cultural arts, such as film and TV, as well as music. Perth's movie industry is actually experiencing something of a boom right now, with lots of locally produced films hitting big screens across the world. Our little city has also produced and educated some big industry names, as you'll see a little later on.

Firstly, let's talk movies set in (and around) Perth;

Films set/filmed in Perth (and surrounds)

One of the most notable films to have been produced in Perth recently is called These Final Hours. A fairly low-budget apocalypse drama, the movie was very popular here with audiences, owing to the fact that it was shot in the sprawling suburbs of Perth. The movie also received a fairly wide release internationally, hitting screens at Cannes earlier in the year. It starred local actors, such as Jessica De Gouw, who'll be hear more about later on. 

Another movie that was partially set and filmed in Perth was Son of a Gun, a crime drama which starred big Hollywood names like Ewan McGregor and Brendon Thwaites. Like These Final Hours, it also received a preliminary screening at Cannes earlier in the year, before receiving a wide cinema release here in Australia.

Funnily enough, whilst researching this post, I discovered that Ewan McGregor is also from a Perth - except he's from the Scottish town of Perth, which was the inspiration for Australia's Perth. Ugh, we Brits sure do lack imagination when it comes to naming new places!

I widening the field here a little, but another film set in and around Perth was Tracks. Whilst the movie was filmed outside of this state in South Australia and the Northern Territory, it does feature the West Australian landscape as part of the narrative. 

The story is about a young girl (played by Mia Wasikowska) who braves the harsh landscape of the Outback by travelling from Alice Springs to the West Australian Coast on foot with her dog and four camels. It also stars Adam Driver from HBO's Girls. Again, the movie was screened at various film festivals across the world, including Venice, London, Vancouver, Dubai, Sydney, Glasgow and Toronto. 

2009 musical Bran Nue Dae (which stars Geoffrey Rush) was predominantly shot in the Outback, but a few scenes were shot in Fremantle, a town just 20 minutes out of Perth. 

Another film which is a bit of long-shot is 2013 surfing film Drift, which starred Sam Worthington. This movie was filmed in Margaret River and Yallingup, two rural towns about two hours out of Perth. This might sound like a lot, but it's really not when you consider how frickin' massive this place is.

Lastly, the iconic horror film Wolf Creek, and its sequel Wolf Creek 2, were set in the northern part of Western Australia. However, this one is a really big stretch given how massive our state is and the fact it was also filmed in South Australia. So, I guess it actually doesn't fit at all. Moving on...

Actors born/educated/from Perth (and surrounds)

Many big names actors are known for hailing from Perth, or at least studying here at some point in their careers. The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in Mount Lawley is a big deal for aspiring actors and actresses, and many actually move here to enrol at the Academy. 

For example, whilst he was born in Sydney, Hugh Jackman was at one point a student at WAAPA here in Perth, before going on to hit it big in the US and become the face of the X-Men franchise as Logan/Wolverine. Fun fact: long-time stunt double for Jackman (Taris Tyler) was also born and raised here in Perth!

Other notable alumni of WAAPA include Jai Courtney (A Good Day To Die Hard, Divergent, Terminator: Genisys), comedian Tim Minchin and four-time Gold Logie award winning TV actress Lisa McCune. Erin James (who made her screen debut in this year's indie comedy The Little Death) also attended WAAPA. 

The most notable actor who was born here in Perth is, without a doubt, posthumous Oscar winner and star of The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger

Ledger was born in Perth in 1979 and moved to the US in 1998 to pursue a career in Hollywood. Before his Oscar winning performance in Christopher Nolan's second Batman film, Ledger appeared in films such as The Patriot10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain, A Knight's Tale, Lords of Dogtown and The Brothers Grimm

Ledger is something of a local hero here in Perth, with his name living on long after his tragically early death. The State Theatre Centre has named its largest performance stage the Heath Ledger Theatre as a tribute to the actor. Just last week, a new mural was opened on the side of a screen production studio in West Perth in honour of the actor. 

As I mentioned earlier, Jesscia De Gouw is another actor who hails from Perth. Best known for her work as Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress on The CW's comic-book series Arrow, she was also cast in NBC's Bram Stoker adaptation, Dracula alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 

Melissa George, who plays Marilyn Garbanza on The Good Wife, was also born in Perth - her other acting credits include Mulholland Drive, Grey's Anatomy and Alias. Lastly, Gemma Ward - who played that mermaid chick in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is another Perthite (Perthian? I don't know).

Anyway, that pretty much sums up Perth in film! For a small city, it's a pretty talented place. It's been really interesting researching all the different things that've come out of Perth in recent times. Thanks to Caz from Let's Go To The Movies for putting together such an interesting blogathon! 


  1. Wow, lots of fun stuff here. I had no idea so much came out of a town I had only barely heard of. Loved reading this.

    1. Thanks Wendell :) Perth is kinda like it's own little world, so I don't blame you for not hearing of it! :)



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