Shooting has started in Sydney on an all-Australian remake of the 1979 cult classic film Being There about a simpleton who is unwittingly elevated to national leadership and influence.
Four decades after its original release, the film that starred the late British comic genius Peter Sellers still resonates.
Sellers played Chance, a gardener in a rich Washington DC household who had never left the premises in his entire life but who finds himself on the streets after his employer’s death.
A series of accidental encounters sees him and his simplistic one-liners about the only things he knows — tending a garden and largely useless information gleaned from watching TV — mistaken for “Chauncey Gardener” and lauded by influential powerbrokers as a political genius with deep insights.
In a sensational coup, the producers of the new Australian remake have snared Prime Minister Scott Morrison (main picture) to play the role made famous by Sellers.
The film’s backers have been more than impressed by his on-screen performances since becoming PM and moved quickly to set in train moves to remake what they saw as the perfect vehicle for him.
The original Being There script is being largely followed in the remake with only a few changes to accommodate Mr Morrison’s own suggested lines including: “If you have a go you’ll get a go” and “If you’re going to step up, you’ve got to show up”.
Other dialogue sure to prove a hit with cinema goers once the film is released include: “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools”; “The best form of welfare is a job”; and “Climate change is a global phenomenon, and we’re doing our bit as part of the response to climate change”.
Mr Morrison is fitting in his on-set appearances around his schedule as PM and production is due to wrap in late February.
A release date has not been set as negotiations are still under way to find a distributor.