City to ex­plore film con­nec­tion

Mayor wants Ned Kelly shot here

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Remembrance Day - BY SIMONE KERWIN sker­win@ ne­me­

PO­TEN­TIAL lo­ca­tions within the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta for a soon-to-be-made Ned Kelly film will be dis­cussed in com­ing weeks, ac­cord­ing to mayor Ken Clarke.

Re­ports swirling around the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try this week have Aus­tralian di­rec­tor Justin Kurzel at the helm of a film adap­ta­tion of Peter Carey’s novel True His­tory of the Kelly Gang, with Os­car win­ner Rus­sell Crowe be­lieved to have been cast as bushranger Harry Power.

The movie is ex­pected to be­gin film­ing in Vic­to­ria early next year, though there has been no con­fir­ma­tion of where it will be filmed.

Cr Clarke said he planned to speak to coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Bren­dan McGrath, about the pos­si­bil­ity of the ru­ral city sug­gest­ing lo­ca­tions cen­tral to the Kelly story for the film.

“Ev­ery­thing to do with Ned Kelly is in the North East or south­ern New South Wales, so if it’s au­then­tic, it should in­volve Wanga- ratta and dis­trict,” Cr Clarke said.

“You’ve got Glen­rowan, the court case in Beech­worth, Ned was buried at Greta – what more do you want?

“I think Beech­worth would be ideal, and there are some parts of Wan­garatta that would lend them­selves to film­ing.

“As far as I’m con­cerned, I’d be very sup­port­ive of any­thing com­ing here, and we’ll be mak­ing the push to look at driv­ing some­thing to hap­pen here.”

Nine movies and four TV shows based on the Kelly story, be­gin­ning with a 1906 silent film, have been made over the years, in­clud­ing a 2003 film star­ring the late Heath Ledger.

Glen­rowan busi­ness­man and Kelly his­to­rian Gary Dean said while he had some reser­va­tions about Carey’s fic­tional treat­ment of the story be­ing adapted for film, any re­newed in­ter­est al­ways drew more vis­i­tors to the dis­trict.

“It’s al­ways good, as long as peo­ple un­der­stand that this is not the true story, just fic­tion,” Mr Dean said.

“Busi­ness-wise, it did help when the Heath Ledger movie came out (in 2003); over the fol­low­ing months, there are al­ways more peo­ple vis­it­ing as a con­se­quence of films like that.

“And it might help our as­pi­ra­tions to get some money into the town; the re­newed in­ter­est might help that cause.”

But Mr Dean said he would pre­fer to see a his­tory-based movie rather than some­thing based on fic­tion.

“I ac­tu­ally started writ­ing a screen­play about Dan Kelly’s es­cape story, which has been put away in a drawer some­where for now,” he said.

Chris Ger­rett from Kate’s Cot­tage in Glen­rowan said it may be dif­fi­cult to find lo­ca­tions in the dis­trict suit­able for bring­ing the Kelly era to life.

“When they did the film with Heath Ledger, they used the You Yangs and Clunes, where half the street was Beech­worth and the other half was Jer­ilderie,” she said.

“They would prob­a­bly have the same prob­lem now with find­ing some­thing here that looks au­then­tic.

“You’ve got to have some­thing that still looks like vir­gin coun­try, and there is not much vir­gin coun­try around.

“Ei­ther way, what­ever they do, it will be ben­e­fi­cial to the re­gion.

“Ev­ery time Ned is men­tioned, the whole area ben­e­fits.

“After we were on the To­day Show, peo­ple came from Mel­bourne for day trips, and then stayed to ex­plore the area.

“I think it’s go­ing to be a pos­i­tive, and I’d love it if it was as close to the truth as pos­si­ble, but you’re not go­ing to get that with the Peter Carey book.”

PHOTO: Adrian Vaughan

THE BIG STAGE: Spi­der­bait singer/drum­mer Cram (front left), to­gether and band gui­tarist Whitt (left) took to the stage with 50 lo­cal am­a­teur mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing young Jamie Dunkerly (right), to pe­form on Sun­day night in what was one of the high­lights...

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