/News 26.02.23


Melbourne is abuzz with screen production activity, with Hollywood heavyweights John Cena, Zac Efron, William H. Macy, Peter Farrelly and Russell Crowe currently shooting projects in Victoria, Australia’s most southern mainland state.

Ricky Stanicky reunites Efron and Academy Award® winning director Peter Farrelly (Green Book, Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary) for an action-comedy about four childhood friends who create a fictitious character to get them out of sticky situations.

Over eight weeks of shooting in Melbourne, Cena (Trainwreck, The Suicide Squad), Efron (The Greatest Showman, High School Musical) and Emmy-winner Macy (Shameless) will be joined by Jermaine Fowler (Sorry to Bother You), Anja Savcic (Loudermilk), Andrew Santino (Dave) and Lex Scott Davis (The First Purge), plus 850 local cast and crew.

Crime thriller Sleeping Dogs sees Academy Award® winner Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) return to film in Victoria to play a former homicide detective, Roy Freeman, who is tasked with re-examining a brutal murder case from his past while undergoing treatment for Alzheimer’s.

As shooting on both projects ramps up in Melbourne and its surrounding regions, Victoria’s versatility as a production destination is once again on show. Alongside Ricky Stanicky—for which Melbourne is doubling for Providence, Rhode Island—and Sleeping Dogs, a raft of Victorian-led productions are shooting in the state, including the second season of Netflix’s hit young adult drama, Surviving Summer.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in Australia—and, specifically, in Melbourne, where I spent my honeymoon 26 years ago. And to finally get to make the movie that I’ve been trying to make for ten years, it’s all just a dream come true.”

Peter Farrelly, Director, Ricky Stanicky
L-R: Director Peter Farrelly, Jermaine Fowler, Andrew Santino, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos, VicScreen CEO Caroline Pitcher, Zac Efron and John Cena on the set of Ricky Stanicky in Melbourne, Australia. Photo Ben King

On set in Melbourne, Farrelly said the local crew is really well-oiled and they get it done. “I’ve always had good crews, but this is as good as we’ve had.”

“It’s a fantastic place to work, you guys have really great writers, directors and crews.
I would love to shoot stuff for the rest of my life here. I hope this is the beginning of that.”

Zac Efron

Victorian producer Paul Currie (Hacksaw Ridge) of Footloose Productions, renowned international sales agent and producer Thorsten Schumacher (All Quiet on the Western Front), and comedy producer John Jacobs (Blades of Glory) have teamed up to produce Ricky Stanicky for Amazon Prime Video.

Ricky Stanicky and Sleeping Dogs were attracted to Australia through the support of the federal government’s Location Incentive and by the Victorian Government through VicScreen’s Victorian Screen Incentive.

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said the projects “will once again showcase the state as global screen leader, sending a clear message to the rest of the world that Victoria is the place to be.”

Sleeping Dogs is a Nickel City Pictures film adaptation of E.O. Chirovici’s critically acclaimed novel, The Book of Mirrors. Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Assassins Creed, Exodus: Gods and Kings) adapted the novel, which marks Cooper’s directorial debut.

“Federal Government support from Minister Tony Burke, as well as VicScreen, have been invaluable and we couldn’t be happier to shoot this film in Melbourne. The crew is second to none and we feel so lucky to be able to showcase this beautiful city on the big screen,” producers for Sleeping Dogs said.

Want to find out more about filming in Victoria?
Get in touch with Joe Brinkmann, VicScreen’s Head of Incentives & Production Support, at [email protected]