An upcoming Australian feature film, Malibu Crush, almost didn’t make it following the halting of its production due to Covid. But while in conversation with us, writer and director James Pratt praised two North Shore venues for coming to the film’s rescue and ensuring it will be on the big screen in 2021.
Malibu Crush stars Australian Bachelor runner up, Brittany Hockley, Scott Miller (Once Upon a Time, 2012) and Jessica Ross (Backstage Weekly, Fashion Dolls). It’s a buddy comedy similar to Shallow Hal and There’s Something About Mary. The story is centred on two best friends from Pasadena who pretend to be highly acclaimed film school students in order to declare their love for an ex-girlfriend living in Sydney. First time writer and director James Pratt tells us that after a fairly bleak 2020, he’s hoping that a comedy will be the perfect medicine for movie goers when it’s released in 2021.
While Malibu Crush has finally wrapped its filming and is set for a US summer release date, the journey here hasn’t been an easy one for all those involved in its making. James told us why.
“We lost funding when the Covid lockdown hit,” James explained. “But through personal donations of the cast and crew, and favours and the goodwill of several local organisations, we were able to pull through and finish shooting the entire film.”
WingMill and Cammeray Golf Course come to the rescue
Two North Shore venues – WingMill in Neutral Bay and Cammeray Golf Course – play pivotal roles in the film, and the actual organisations were instrumental in getting the film’s production across the line.
WingMill owner Ahmed Kalil, originally from Modesto California, runs a popular American style fried chicken and beer joint in Neutral Bay. Having gone to the same Northern Beaches school as James, he heard through the grapevine that the film’s production team were looking for a venue similar to his. He didn’t hesitate to offer it up for filming, totally free of charge.
Much of the filming was done there and the restaurant itself became a major part of the storyline as the two best friends in the film use the location to pretend to shoot an ad about WingMill.
“It was such a great and unique experience for me and everyone at the restaurant,” Ahmed told us. “They even changed the script to include WingMill’s name. It was really fun to watch them work. I was even brought on screen to do a quick split-second cameo!”
He went on to add: “Everyone got involved to give the film exposure on social media and now we even have a wrap party happening for the Malibu Crush crew in the coming weeks.”
The film’s crew were also desperately searching for a golf course to film at, but were coming up with rejection after rejection from club’s unwilling to close off parts of their courses for filming.
“We were also looking for a golf course to film at and struggling as none would agree to shut down part of their course,” James explained. “Cammeray Golf Course came to the rescue and were so hospitable over the four days of filming. A big thanks to Layton Gould, the general manager there.
“Without the help of these two North Shore locations, we would not have been able to complete the film.”
You can see more on Malibu Crush here: