Incentives lure Luhrmann's Oz shoot

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SYDNEY -- Helmer Baz Luhrmann confirmed Friday that his unnamed historical epic will begin shooting in Australia in March.

The big-budget feature also will shoot on location in the remote northwest of the country in July, after receiving AUS$500,000 ($385,000) in incentives from state film agency Screen West.

The feature, backed by 20th Century Fox and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, is set around the bombing of Darwin in the World War II and will, according to WA arts and culture minister Sheila McHale, pump AUS$4 million ($3.08 million) into the West Australian economy.

Luhrmann said filming on location was preferable to shooting in a studio but the cost of filming outside a metropolitan area can be prohibitively high.

"We had a choice -- to recreate this section of the film in studio or in another State or to capture the real thing on film," he said. "The WA Government's financial contribution was instrumental in my decision to shoot these scenes around Kununurra."

McHale said the project also will showcase WA as a tourism destination. "WA's unique North will be transformed into a film starring some of Australia's best talent and broadcast internationally," she said.
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