He is not a super hero, but film location scout Duncan Jones has the power to shut down city streets so Hollywood superstars can shoot their blockbuster movies.
In 2016, the Gold Coast-based location manager orchestrated the closure of part of Brisbane’s CBDwhile Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth filmed Thor: Ragnarok — the third instalment of the franchise.
Queensland’s film industry has been booming with 12 international movies shot in the state in the past five years.
Mr Jones said the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, and the large number of variable film locations makes South East Queensland a desirable location for movie makers.
“Within an hour you can either go to beautiful tropical reef, we’ve got all of these beautiful beaches here in the Gold Coast and then just up the road we’ve got the rainforest,” he said.
But the 44-year-old started as a dolphin trainer before moving into the film industry as a location scout 16 years ago.
“I used to work at Sea World and worked on Flipper for many years when they were filming that at Sea World, and through that I got to know locations managers and thought that was the way to go,” he added.
His job is to help facilitate film makers and deal with councils, property owners and community groups.
“Whoever it is that wants to make a film comes to me with a script,” he said.
“We then break it down from a locations prospective and then it’s a matter of going out and finding options that will fit that script’s needs.”
Mr Jones said he had developed strong working relationships with councils, but there were a few tense moments during filming of the $160 million Aquaman move in June this year.
The filmmakers were granted approval to construct a temporary lighthouse on Hastings Point in far northern New South Wales, but some locals felt they were not properly consulted.
The Tweed Shire Council held an emergency meeting and the situation was resolved and filming went ahead.
“All good and well to bring Hollywood to the coast or to a city, but unless you can leave on a positive footing there’s no point in going there, because all we’ll end up doing is eroding our locations if we keep knocking them about,” he said.
No more international films in the pipeline
With the filming of Aquaman now finished, which stars Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa, there are no overseas film projects in the pipeline.
The president of Village Roadshow Studios, Lynne Benzie, said work was being done behind the scenes to secure more big-budget films, but would not discuss them.
Mr Jones was also remaining tight-lipped about any projects he was working on.
“I am pretty optimistic that they are hoping to be a lot more big films coming to Queensland,” he said.
The Gold Coast studios will not be available to filmmakers until late April 2018, with the Commonwealth Games taking over the entire site as a training and competition venue for badminton.