A normally tranquil Mildura streetscape has been transformed into something likened to a Hollywood filmset.
Cast and extras were decked out in 1980s-era styling, crew were masked in hi-vis and wearing production equipment sourced from rows of production trucks that lined the formerly quiet cul-de-sac.
The production is for a six-part ABC and iView series called The Newsreader that is based on the exploits of a notoriously difficult news anchor, Helen Norville, played by Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City).
The anchor is trying to make her mark in a male-dominated commercial TV newsroom while Dale Jennings, played by Sam Reid (Lambs of God, The Hunting) is a news-hungry reporter desperate for a shot at the desk.
The Newsreader’s creator Michael Lucas (Offspring) said he was inspired by the headline news stories of the 1980s.
Joining Torv and Reid is a stellar cast that includes Robert Taylor (Longmire), William McInnes (Rake), Chum Ehelepola (Stateless), Michelle Lim Davidson (Play School), Stephen Peacocke (Home and Away), Chai Hansen (The New Legend of Monkey) and Marg Downey (Fast Forward).
It was the local cast of extras who really stole the show.
Dressed in 1980s-styled beige and brown, 14 local extras re-enacted the media scrum that staked out a Darwin suburban home where Lindy Chamberlain spent her first night of freedom.
Brian Kelly aka “BK” is an extra who plays the role of a news photographer.
He describes his brown and beige patterned shirt as “psychedelic” and when asked how he got the part?
“I think the kids must have signed me up and the casting agent called me to say I had the perfect ’80s hairstyle and here I am.”
James Flack, sporting a new ’80s moustache, plays a cameraman.
In his first foray into acting, James said he enjoyed being an extra and joked that would be in Hollywood before long.
Other locals passionate about ’80s style supplied several pristinely maintained vintage cars seen throughout the episode.
Mandy Bowen’s home is one of several that have been overtaken with cast, crew, and an entourage of costume fitters, set designers, make-up artists and production crew, all working to transform the street into a Northern Territory 1980s suburban vista.
“Everyone’s so friendly and I’m looking forward to seeing the series on the telly.”
Lucas said the Lindy Chamberlain episode was originally scheduled to be filmed in the NT but pandemic border closures meant Mildura made a perfect alternative.
With its oasis-like streets and a variety of landscapes, the town has proven to be an excellent location for the production.
The series will air on ABC and iView in 2021.
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