According to Borat star and creator Sacha Baron Cohen, our A-plus response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason our shores are currently awash with A-list celebrities.
Baron Cohen, whose wife is Aussie actress Isla Fisher, gave us a pat on the back during an interview on ABC News Breakfast when he said, “This is one of the few countries in the world that really, the politicians stepped aside – whatever you want to think about the politicians – and said, ‘OK, let’s let the scientists run this show’. And it’s been amazingly effective. I really hope that it continues.”
So do we, mate.
Baron Cohen isn’t wrong – we have seen a huge number of actors head to our fine land this year partly due to our handle on the pandemic and also thanks to the government’s $400 million Location Incentive which is designed to encourage big screen productions to film here.
Here’s a bit of a breakdown of the Hollywood royalty we’ve hosted Down Under recently:
Damon has joined the growing list of celebrities setting up shop in beautiful Byron Bay, with the Bourne Identity star arriving with his family via private plane on January 16.
It has been reported that the actor, who has joined the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder has purchased a $22 million mansion in which to reside during his time down under.
The Normal People breakout star is currently shooting a film adaptation of the opera Carmen in Breadalbane, New South Wales.
24-year-old Mescal stars opposite Melissa Barrera in the movie, which will be the directorial debut from Benjamin Millepied — husband of Oscar-winner Natalie Portman.
The film was originally slated for production in Mexico and Los Angeles, but will take place on our shores instead with Broken Hill, NSW reported to be another of the shooting locations.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
The golden couple were in Queensland as Hanks filmed his role in the upcoming Elvis biopic in which he plays Colonel Tom Parker.
Both Hanks and Wilson contracted COVID-19 while in the Sunshine State and isolated for a period before heading back to Los Angeles. Hanks returned via private jet in September to continue work on the Baz Luhrmann film and completed the mandatory hotel quarantine stay.
The Oscar-winner and her family arrived in Sydney in September and quarantined for two weeks. Portman is here to film the upcoming Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder, and has been seen arriving on set at Fox Studios.
Sacha Baron-Cohen and Isla Fisher
Baron-Cohen and Fisher themselves are in Sydney and have apparently enrolled their three kids in school locally. Aussie born Fisher has always been vocal about her dream of moving back to Oz but for now the relocation seems career motivated.
The Wedding Crashers star is set to lend her voice to an upcoming animated Netflix film called Back To The Outback, which will also feature Eric Bana, Keith Urban, Tim Minchin and Celeste Barber.
The actress, best known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy, landed in Perth in March and thanks to Coronavirus has been there ever since!
Walsh isn’t mad at it though telling 9Honey Celebrity, “I really love Perth. I love the city, I love the people and I feel very, very fortunate, obviously, to have quarantined there and be in WA during this kind of crazy time in the world.” The 13 Reasons Why actress even expressed her desire to build and film a project in the Aussie “City of Light”.
The High School Musical star headed to bohemian oasis Byron Bay to ride out the pandemic and was first spotted in the resort town in June.
Efron sang our praises back in 2012 when he told AAP, “What I love about Australia, which is what we don’t have in California, is there are so many wide-open beaches where no-one is at.”
The actor reportedly loves our land so much that there is talk he will buy a property in Byron. In the meantime, he’s been cast in the upcoming Stan original series Gold, and is currently filming in Adelaide.
Further proof that Efron is staying for good, comes after the 33-year-old not only made headlines by getting the most Aussie of all haircuts — a mullet, but he also listed his $8 million ($5.9 million USD) bachelor pad.
“Incredible privacy and views are the hallmarks of this stylish zen contemporary compound in the Oaks section of Los Feliz,” the official description reads.
Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy and Luke Evans
This talented trinity are filming the mini-series Nine Perfect Strangers in the stunning Southern Highlands.
Australian native Kidman arrived with fellow Aussie, husband Keith Urban, in November while McCarthy was seen in Byron Bay — another of the show’s filming locations — back in August.
Meanwhile, Welsh actor Luke Evans also hit our shores in November, quarantining for two weeks in Sydney.