Starry, starry nights at sea
If a local cruise were made into a movie, which Australian actors would be cast? Captain Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson or Russell Crowe — sorry, too hard to choose so let’s make them all officers. Hugh Jackman would be the ultimate cruise director, and Eric Bana could go back to his days as a comedian on the main stage.
Executive chef Curtis Stone, if he can act, would be a natural as he already has a few restaurants at sea. The restaurant maitre d’ always seems to be Italian, so Vince Colosimo is our best bet. Bar manager Mel Gibson, perhaps. Oh wait, we need Bryan Brown making cocktails instead of steering the ship.
The piano man has to be Geoffrey Rush, reprising his role in Shine. Nicole Kidman can revive her Moulin Rouge! days, accompanied by Paul Mercurio, Adam Garcia, and Kylie and Dannii Minogue. Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp would have to do Priscilla, Queen of the Ocean. The Hemsworth brothers as pool boys, please. Day spa manager Cate Blanchett and her flawless skin.
In reality, very few Australians work on big cruise ships. At least the passengers would legitimately be locals. Picture this girls’ getaway group: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Rebel Wilson, Ruby Rose, Isla Fisher, Margot Robbie, Magda Szubanski and a couple of cougars poolside, Gina Riley and Jane Turner. They run into a bunch of boys on a bucks’ weekend, led by Sam Wor- thington and Joel Edgerton, and annoy Platinum-level couple Jacki Weaver and Paul Hogan.
There was an Australian-American supernatural horror, Ghost Ship (2002), shot in Queensland and Canada. Spoiler alert: it opens with crew killing passengers in a gruesome dancefloor massacre. Few other recent films would entice anyone to take a cruise. Let’s face it, nobody gets over Titanic. One has to delve back through the decades for anything inspiring.
In the 1950s classic, An Affair to Remember, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fall in love on SS Constitution. (Little known fact: Grant met his third real-life wife on the original Queen Mary.) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes also takes place on a ship, pairing Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell as singers sailing to France. Doris Day, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire performed in cheery cruise movies such as Romance on the High Seas and Shall We Dance?. Carry on Cruising, set on a British P&O vessel, had a tagline about a “luxury laughter cruise”.
Comedies made a comeback in the 1990s when Out to Sea saw Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau posing as dance instructors on Holland America’s Westerdam during a real-life cruise. In Boat Trip, a travel agent gets revenge on two customers, Cuba Gooding Jr and Horatio Sanz, by booking the straight mates on a gay cruise.
The premise of Speed 2 is almost funny. After saving a bus full of people in Speed, Sandra Bullock heads to the Caribbean to chill out, only to encounter creepy crew member Willem Dafoe who tries to collide Seabourn Legend (now named Star Legend) with an oil tanker.
There hasn’t been much in the genre since 2011 when Adam Sandler played both leads in Jack and Jill while aboard one of the biggest product placements in history, the world’s largest megaliner at the time, Allure of the Seas. Released the same year, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, set on Carnival Dream, is probably a better option to watch with the kids. That is, until my “Aussies Afloat” extravaganza comes out.
Louise Goldsbury is the editor of cruisecritic.com.au.
Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes