By Tyler Wright
If you live around The Basin and spotted vans near the town’s roundabout on Friday 17 June – it was because the star studded cast of the film adaptation of Jane Harper’s novel ‘Force of Nature’, were filming 15 minutes away in our very own Dandenong Ranges.
Eric Bana has assumed the role of detective Aaron Falk and is joined by actress Deborah Lee-Furness playing Jill Bailey, in the follow up to smash hit ‘The Dry’.
Lynette Hayhurst, resident of The Basin, had the chance to chat to Deborah Lee-Furness on Friday and said she was “friendly” and “delightful”.
“She said ‘I’d love a hot cup of tea’, so I went back over the road and told Meryll (from Rainy Day Books) she wanted a cup of tea…and that’s what Meryll did,” Lynette laughed.
“The scene [was] just amazing – it’s like ‘what are these huge star vans doing here?’
The locals [were] ecstatic, saying ‘what’s going on?”
While there was no public access to the set, Lynette made sure she got the most out of the opportunity to mingle and advocate for the town.
“I got to speak with the costume designer and the assistant director [as well], so that was a pretty cool opportunity,” she said.
“I was actually trying to promote the local bookshop, because [the owner] is very excited about the book and has books by Jane Harper in her store; and of all times, she ordered the book the movie is based on, [which will] arrive on Monday.”
‘Force of Nature’ focuses on five women who take part in a corporate hiking retreat, with only four coming out on the other side.
Federal Agents Aaron Falk (Bana) and Carmen Cooper (McKenzie) head deep into the Victorian mountain ranges to investigate in the hopes of finding their whistle-blowing informant, Alice Russell (Torv), alive.
Lynette said having the area’s landscape on the big screen will put The Basin “on the map”.
“I’ve never seen a film crew descend on a small town of 4000 people…it’s a very small and overall really quite lovely town and it attracts because of its natural beauty,” the local said.
Screen Australia’s Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon told the Star Mail in May ‘The Dry’ was an extraordinary success, reaching number one at the Australian box office and quickly becoming an Australian classic.
“We’re delighted to support this immensely talented team’s return for Force of Nature and deliver an enthralling Australian thriller. Starring some of Australia’s finest actors and set against the striking landscapes of Victoria, this film is set to be another cinematic event,” he said.
The film has received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with VicScreen and will be entirely shot in Victoria, with the Otaways also chosen as a location.
“From Jane Harper winning the Premier’s Literary Award for The Dry to now having a second Victorian-made feature film in the works – this is a stunning Victorian creative success story that will inject $10 million into the state’s economy and showcase Victoria’s regions to the world,” Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said.
Eric Bana and Deborah Lee-Furness are also joined by cast members Lucy Ansell (Utopia) as Bree and Jacqueline McKenzie (Romper Stomper) as Federal Agent Carmen Cooper.
Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor is back in the role of Erik Falk, alongside Richard Roxburgh as Daniel Bailey, Tony Briggs as Ian Chase and Kenneth Radley as Sergeant King.