EXCLUSIVE: More than two years after it was announced and after a couple of delays, George Miller’s anticipated fantasy-romance-drama Three Thousand Years Of Longing is now underway in Australia, we can reveal.
The Sydney-based production, which is observing numerous on-set Covid safety protocols, is in fact 20 days into its 62-day shoot. The team will break up over Christmas and reconvene early next year before wrapping in the early spring for a planned September 2021 delivery.
Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba are starring in Miller’s latest, whose plot details are being kept under wraps. The visionary filmmaker previously described the project to us as an “anti-Mad Max” with plenty of interiors and dialogue but also punctuated with action scenes.
The estimated $60M budget is an indication that this is far from your average two-hander, however. Producer Doug Mitchell, Miller’s long-time producing partner, described the Sydney sets to us today “as some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen” and noted that as the title suggests, audiences will glimpse different aspects of a three thousand year history.
Visionary filmmaker Miller has attracted a crew to die for, including most of his Mad Max: Fury Road collaborators. The great Oscar-winning DoP John Seale, known for his work on The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, has come out of retirement to lens the film, which will be only his second of the last decade, the other being six-time Oscar winner Fury Road.
Oscar-winning Fury Road editor and longtime Miller partner Margaret Sixel is aboard, as are that film’s Oscar-winning hair and makeup designer Lesley Vanderwalt, Oscar-winning set decorator Lisa Thompson, composer Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL, casting director Nikki Barrett, first AD P.J. Voeten, stunt co-ordinator Guy Norris, and prosthetics whizz Sheldon Wade.
Also in the team are Miller’s Oscar-nominated Babe production designer Roger Ford, The Matrix costume designer Kym Barrett and Captain Marvel and Avengers VFX supervisor Paul Butterworth. Supporting cast is being kept under wraps for now.
“George thinks this is the best crew he has ever worked with,” Mitchell told us. It’s easy to see why.
Since we announced the movie two years ago, the pandemic proved the biggest hurdle to production, including in relation to insurance. This was overcome by funding arranged by Craig McMahon of Elevate Production Finance. The initial plan had been to also film in Istanbul and London but the entire shoot will now take place in Australia.
MGM boarded domestic rights to the film earlier this year and will distribute via its United Artists Releasing label. Amid this week’s streaming day-and-date furore, Mitchell said the expectation is very much for the film to get a theatrical release.
Among key partners and financiers on the journey to production have been Elevate, CAA Media Finance, Natixis Coficine, FilmNation, Chinese buyer Sunac Culture, Screen Australia and Create NSW.
Next up for Miller, Mitchell confirmed, will be Warner Bros’ Furiosa spinoff with Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. That movie will also shoot in Australia.