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Taking care of business: Hanks back on Elvis set as production hits high gear on Coast

Business

Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks has emerged from COVID isolation on the Gold Coast, giving the green light for cameras to roll again on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic.

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Hanks’ return to the set of Elvis at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, after flying into the country and spending two weeks in quarantine until 22 September, kickstarts a burst of film and television productions in Queensland ranging from blockbusters to reality TV shows.

The Elvis film headlines a host of new productions around the state including reality-TV show Love Island, quiz show Millionaire Hot Seat and the second season of fantasy series Bureau of Magical Things by Jonathan M. Shiff Productions on the Gold Coast.

Feature film Kidnapped and rom-com This Little Love of Mine, both by the Steve Jaggi company, have begun filming in Port Douglas and Cairns, and shooting is expected to begin on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s NBC TV show Young Rock in Brisbane during October.

The third season of crime series Harrow by Brisbane-based production house Hoodlum is also expected start filming in the state’s southeast in October.

Filming of Elvis stopped in March after Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracted coronavirus while shooting the biopic and returned to Los Angeles.

Productions of film and television shows across Queensland and worldwide were shut down amid mass pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, but a number of productions were able to resume in a Queensland bubble from June.

Hanks’ return to the Gold Coast on 8 September sent a major signal that the state’s film industry was one of the few locations again fully open for business, with even more productions likely to commence with the expected easing of pandemic restrictions at the end of September.

Love Island, the dating reality show featuring “Australia’s sexiest singles,” is one of the productions that has confirmed its move to the Gold Coast, making it the first time the show has been staged in Australia after the first two series were filmed in Spain and Fiji.

Channel Nine confirmed the Gold Coast location of the Love Island villa and production as part of their Nine Upfront reveal of new and returning programs for the year.

“Season three will see a new group of Australia’s sexiest singles who have given up on finding love the modern way – by being an influencer and sliding into another influencer’s DMs – to embrace the love quest in the traditional way: in a villa on the Gold Coast filled with cameras and really hot people,” Nine said in a statement. Love Island Australia is produced by ITV Studios Australia.

The production joins Nine stablemate Millionaire Hot Seat, that has moved 30 episodes to the Gold Coast, with host Eddie McGuire commencing taping in the last week of September. The Gold Coast move is the first time Millionaire, Australia’s longest-running quiz show, has left Melbourne.

The move to Queensland has already been a hit with Queenslanders, with the show’s producers closing contestant applications within 48 hours following a stampede by applicants hoping for a shot at winning $1 million.

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