Liam Neeson – Filming New Action Movie 'Blacklight' in Melbourne
Get ready for another Liam Neeson action movie! The 68-year-old actor is in Melbourne to start filming Blacklight, a $43 million film after he completed his two-week mandatory self-isolation in Sydney before flying to Melbourne.
Liam's new action movie is set to boost Australia's film industry and bring hundreds of jobs to locals in the aftermath of Melbourne's severe second COVID-19 lockdown.
The Hollywood action movie is expected to create more than 500 local jobs for cast and crew plus 550 roles for extras. State minister for creative industries Danny Pearson hailed it as a "coup" that "demonstrates Victoria's standing as a global screen leader", while Film Victoria CEO Caroline Pitcher said it showed the state's screen industry "is back in business with our world-class talent and facilities in high demand".
The production will utilise LED screen technology similar to that used in Disney's The Mandalorian. Ordinarily, a film of this scale would be based at Docklands Studios, but that facility is fully booked already. Blacklight will instead become the first film to use the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as a studio, a task to which it is reportedly well-suited.
According to production, the movie is a thriller and it’s "about a troubled off-the-books fixer for the FBI tasked with pulling undercover agents out of dangerous situations" who finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that goes right to the top.
Mark Williams is the writer, director, and producer of the film, also directed Liam in his recent movie “Honest Thief” revealed he chose to film Blacklight in Australia over the US and Canada because of Australia’s success in managing COVID-19. Melbourne will double for a North American city which has yet to be confirmed.
Actor, Liam Neeson was seen for the first time on the set of his new action flick Blacklight in Melbourne wearing a black coat, blue jeans and a protective face mask to limit the spread of COVID-19 as he stepped out of his trailer to meet an awaiting film crew.
Unfortunately, soon after choosing to film in Melbourne, the state endured a strict second lockdown.
However, Williams explained that he didn't lose faith, saying: 'I arrived in Australia a couple of months ago, and when I got out of quarantine and went walking around Sydney I was shocked at how many people were out and about without masks.
'I've been in Melbourne for the past month, and all the masks here make me feel much more comfortable, not just for our production but for everyone else in the city too."
Making a film under COVID conditions is a far tougher ask, with one source suggesting it could add as much as 30 per cent to the bottom line. It is also impossible for foreign film and TV productions to get COVID insurance, meaning the costs of any shutdown due to illness would be endured by the production (Blacklight would not be entitled to cover via the federal government's $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund, which is designed to cover precisely such scenarios).
Despite the challenges, Mr Williams said it was vital for independent productions like his to show "we can get back on track in spite of all that."