Aquaman given permission to film at NSW town, despite locals' anger

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Updated

June 30, 2017 18:22:42

It was more akin to a country soap opera than the bright lights of Hollywood, with a mayor in tears and claims the environment was being forgotten.

But despite significant community opposition, movie giant Warner Bros was cleared to film its blockbuster Aquaman at the Hastings Point Headland, on the New South Wales far north coast.

It took an emergency meeting of the Tweed Shire Council to rubber-stamp the proposal for the $160 million project after furious ratepayers complained they were not consulted about plans to block off the site for at least two months.

The council granted a temporary licence to film at Hastings Point, with regular checks to be conducted.

Aquaman, which stars silver screen royalty Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Jason Momoa and Willem Dafoe, is based on an American comic book character.

Duncan Jones, Warner Bros’ location manager, said he had spent a lot of time talking to locals but conceded “a few had slipped through the cracks”.

“This is a really exciting project, we do make films everywhere, this is not the only location for this production,” he said.

“We embrace every community that we go to. We like to think we make movies, but we give back to everywhere we go.

“We give back in a positive way, not just in terms of jobs and money, but we give that Hollywood wow-factor.

“This is the magic of Hollywood coming to the Tweed Shire.”

Environmentalists bemused by decision

This is not the first time the area has been used to film a major movie.

Many local residents claim native grasses at the rocky foreshore were damaged during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean last year and fear history will repeat.

Greens Mayor Katie Milne broke down in the meeting while delivering an emotional speech about how the town must not forget the environment for the “bright lights” of Hollywood.

Gary Thorpe, president of Progress Association of Hastings Point, could not understand the decision.

“We’re at a loss to understand why council has given this production crew such an extended period of time to exclude visitors and locals from the headland,” he said.

He claimed local residents were not properly consulted.

“I think there needs to be some sort of limitations given,” Mr Thorpe said.

“Otherwise we’ll have one film crew queuing up after the next with no regulation in place.”

Tweed Deputy Mayor Chris Cheery, also a Green, said council had tried to address ratepayers concerns, but conceded they had learnt from the spat.

“We need to do our consultation for this sort project that is going to have a high community impact, quite a bit earlier,” she said.

“We need to be clearer to the film producers what we expect.”

Filming will start next week.

Topics:

arts-and-entertainment,

film-movies,

environment,

environmental-impact,

environmental-management,

environmental-policy,

local-government,

hastings-point-2489

First posted

June 30, 2017 18:18:46



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