Rain dampens first day of Strangerland filming ... but not spirits

THEY say if you want a rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain; and true to form the cast and crew of “Strangerland” battened down the hatches as filming kicked off in Canowindra on Friday.

With the film’s stars Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes tucked away out of the drizzle, there wasn’t much for locals to see on the first day of filming; however with clearer weather on the way next week to conincide with the arrival of Nicole Kidman, there may be a chance to spot a famous face or two.

“Today we’re shooting a scene at the back of the Royal [Hotel] so we’re able to put a cover over like a tarp that still lets light through so you can’t tell, that’s the magic of cinema,” producer Macdara Kelleher said.

“We just have to work around it.”

Enjoying a warm welcome to town, Mr Kelleher said there were many reasons why they chose Canowindra as the set of their tiny outback town.

“We saw lots of towns all over New South Wales and we were looking for a town that [fit],” Mr Kelleher 

“In the story it’s a small town, probably a town that’s even smaller than Canowindra. We’re shooting some parts in Broken Hill, but it’s just much too big. 

“What’s interesting about Canowindra is that it’s on an angle so we can shoot it and make it seem a bit smaller than the town is; and you also can’t see what’s at the end of the street so when you see the film, it will be desert at the end.”

“The main street of Canowindra will feature as the main street of our town. They’ll change things, they might change a building’s name or dress it a certain way, but if you’re from Canowindra, you’ll definitely recognise different spots"

There’ll be plenty of landmark sites featured in the film, according to Mr Kelleher.

“The main street of Canowindra will feature as the main street of our town. They’ll change things, they might change a building’s name or dress it a certain way, but if you’re from Canowindra, you’ll definitely recognise different spots,” Mr Kelleher said.

“Right at the end of the main street in the film is the desert, so we’re going to go shoot facing that way and later they’ll edit it together with footage taken in Broken Hill.

“You’ll notice people spraying red dust all over the street to make it more desert-like. There’ll be other parts where they’ll be driving along a dusty road so we’ll shoot it in a way so you can’t see too much green.”

Also being sprayed were some unsuspecting extras, shooting their parts on the streets of Canowindra on Friday.

Extras covered in dust brandishing spray-on tattoos braved the downpour to wait for the chance to be on the silver screen.

Not letting a bit of rain stand in their way were extras Brandon Ross from Parkes, Darren Hunter from Blayney and Leanne Guihot from Canowindra.

Sporting a sleeve of tattoos, Mr Ross didn’t need any airbrushed additions and was excited to be a part of the project.

“My mum thought it was a great idea so now I’m stuck here,” Mr Ross laughed.

“I’m riding my motorbike along the footpath and the side streets but I’m not quite sure why yet.”


Mr Hunter and Ms Guihot are playing shop owners and believe Canowindra will add a certain aesthetic to the film.

“I think the town has an old-style look and a very friendly nature. It’s very rural,” Mr Hunter said.

“It’s good publicity for the town”

Location manager Colin MacDougall said the wet start hadn’t dampened spirits on the set too much.

“The rain’s obviously caused a few issues with our scheduling and impacted what we can film out on the street because it’s supposed to be a town in the grip of a drought, so we’ve got to figure out what we can shoot in this kind of weather,” Mr MacDougall said.

“We just looked at the radar and there’s a fair bit of moisture coming along but it should be ok.”

There’s no word yet on whether they will need to reschedule shooting, however Mr MacDougall remained positive. 

“We’re just working through the options now on what we need to do. Next week’s looking good so that’s great, that’s when we really want it to be nice and clear but today looks like we might have a couple more challenges in front of us. It’s alright, we’ll just keep shooting and find something else we can shoot.”

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