FILM INDUSTRY NEWS:
A planned multi-million dollar all-Australian film has the Morrison government up in arms and accusing the project’s producers of “trying to take the mickey out of a God-fearing world leader, his family and a decent and hardworking ministry”.
And a major Hollywood studio has chimed in, accusing the film’s backers of “blatant plagiarism”.
My spies tell me the cash has been promised, the stars selected and principal filming could begin almost immediately on Field of Dams, the story of an outback evangelistic preacher who starts work on a dam in one of the driest parts of Australia after hearing voices telling him over and over again: ‘If you build it, the rains will come.’
And the great news is that the project will reunite two of Australia’s most loved stars, Magda Szubanski and Peter Moon who played Cheryl and Bob Ugly in TV’s Fast Forward in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Moon plays Pentecostal preacher Morrie Scotson, who starts to neglect his pastoral work, happy-clapping duties and lucrative talking-in-tongues demonstrations when the mysterious “voices” start to fill his head.
At first supported by his wife Jenny (Szubanski, who lost some kilos to snare the role – it’s my second Jenny diet, the comedienne joked), Pastor Scotson is soon the butt of jokes from all and sundry in his community who drive up to his boundary fence to jeer and catcall as he digs away furiously and his dam gets deeper and wider.
From what I’ve been able to glean, the support cast is chockablock with the creme de la creme of our top character actors, all playing stupid country hicks with names and mannerisms that sound very much like those you’d find around a Morrison Cabinet meeting. And Moon will apparently wear a fat suit to play the chubby country pastor.
I won’t spoil the ending in case the producers can overcome the flak the project has attracted and can get this wonderful idea in the can.
But I don’t like their chances. A source close to Prime Minister Scott Morrison tells me the PM “clearly believes it’s a pisstake of his deep religious convictions, his family and his government’s fine works”.
The PM is believed to have added: “Okay, I’ve put on a bit of pud since my miracle win but a fat suit? Really?”
And in Los Angeles, my Hollywood spies tell me the makers of the 1989 Kevin Costner vehicle Field of Dreams have declared the Australian project “a shameless copy of our fine feature film”.
“They’ll be hearing from our lawyers,” one top studio executive said in Yiddish.