Roads to close in Civic as Hollywood takes advantage of Canberra’s very particular set of skills

Ian Bushnell 11 January 2021 79
Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson stars in Blacklight, some of which is being shot in Canberra this week. Photos: Ben King.

A Hollywood blockbuster starring Liam Neeson will film for nine days in Canberra commencing this Thursday, closing some roads and footpaths in Civic, as well as some bus stops.

To facilitate the filming and ensure the safety of all involved, Transport Canberra and City Services says full road and footpath closures are required at the following locations from Thursday, 14 January to Sunday, 17 January:

  • London Circuit from Constitution Avenue to Ainslie Avenue
  • Akuna Street from London Circuit to Cooyong Street
  • Bunda Street from Petrie Street to Binara Street
  • Binara Street from Akuna Street to Allara Street
  • Allara Street from Binara Street to Constitution Avenue
  • Nangari Street from Allara Street to London Circuit
  • Rabaul Lane from Nangari Street to Akuna Street.

In the event of wet weather during this period, additional closures will be in place on Monday, 18 January and Tuesday, 19 January.

These closures will limit access to these streets for road users, pedestrians and cyclists during filming. On-street parking on these streets will also not be permitted during filming.

Access will be managed for local residents and to local businesses.

Nightly road closures will also be in place on the following roads from Monday, 18 January to Friday, 22 January between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am:

  • Wilden Street, Murden Street and William Clemens Street in the city centre
  • access to Tambreet Street from Majura Road, both northbound and southbound
  • a rolling road closure on Parkes Way between Wendouree Drive and Clunies Ross Street.
Road closures

Some roads will be affected by the film shoot. Image: Supplied.

Canberra’s budding film industry hopes a Hollywood blockbuster shoot on the streets of the CBD will pave the way for more movie roles for the national capital.

Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson, has a budget of $54 million and is currently shooting in Melbourne, but Canberra has been chosen as the location for a crucial car chase sequence, which will use world-leading pre-visualisation technology to transform Canberra into downtown Washington DC.

The shoot will create employment for up to 60 local crew and is expected to bring more than $1.5 million of investment into the city, including a boost for hotels and hospitality venues.

It is also an opportunity for Canberra to demonstrate its capability to host this type of technical production and provide the opportunity for local crews to gain experience on a large-scale movie production.

Screen Canberra CEO Monica Penders said Canberra offered a much easier environment than the bigger cities to shoot such scenes, with its particular street configuration and less disruption to traffic.

She said the stunt director for Blacklight, who has shot car chases all over the world, told her that Canberra was one of the best places in the world for this type of work.

”Logistically it’s a lot easier,” she said. ”They’re shutting down 40 streets for the shoot, in Melbourne and other locations it’s 20 streets.”

The Blacklight team has already been to Canberra for a one-day locations shoot last month. The material from that has been fed into a games platform called Unreal Engine, which maps the car chase and then substitutes the Canberra streetscape for Washington DC.

Ms Penders said the project could open up a whole raft of other opportunities for Canberra.

”It’s not the first time I’ve been told by incoming productions that we could sub for smaller north American towns like Boston,” she said.

Screen Canberra will package material from the shoot into its marketing to pitch to studios and producers for future productions.

Mark Williams

Blacklight director Mark Williams on set.

She said it had connections with studios in Australia and Los Angeles and Sydney-based Ausfilm, the organistation charged with enticing production companies to make movies in this country.

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the US, many productions such as Blacklight are moving here.

”Australia and Canberra is being inundated by calls from overseas production companies to come and shoot here,” Ms Penders said.

”We have probably been the busiest we’ve been, from October to the first quarter of this year, in years.”

The TV political drama Total Control series 2 hits screens soon, a horror film called Sissy wrapped before Christmas, a Netflix documentary is being shot in Namadgi National Park and two reality TV shows have shot segments in Canberra.

Screen Canberra is also courting a children’s TV series, which would provide a great training ground for local crew.

Ms Penders said Canberra was unlikely to attract whole productions ”but to take chunks out of this international interest is really important, given our size”.

The other aspect to the number of big international productions flowing to Australia was that smaller films and Australian productions were being bumped out of the bigger cities and looking for other locations such as Canberra

Ms Penders said the interest in Canberra was unlikely to dry up once the pandemic was over, particularly from Australian projects and the TV and small-screen productions feeding the growing demand from streamers.

And will filmgoers be able to spot any Canberra landmarks? Not likely, Ms Penders said, but sharp-eyed Canberrans might.

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79 Responses to Roads to close in Civic as Hollywood takes advantage of Canberra’s very particular set of skills
Jessie Kendall Jessie Kendall 6:23 am 12 Jan 21

Callum Murray fun for you

    Callum Murray Callum Murray 7:41 am 12 Jan 21

    Jessie Kendall fun for bluey...

    Jessie Kendall Jessie Kendall 7:57 am 12 Jan 21

    Callum Murray oh crap i didn't think of that. Guess leave home extra early for it

Coralee Flood Coralee Flood 6:10 am 12 Jan 21

Hmmmm .... and what, if any, COVID precautions are being taken???? 🤔🤔

Natasha Newman Natasha Newman 6:00 am 12 Jan 21

Benjamin this will be interesting trying to get into the office this week

Tim Webster Tim Webster 3:26 am 12 Jan 21

Did anyone actually read the article. You wont see any of canberra in the movie.

    Tracy Robinson Tracy Robinson 8:51 am 12 Jan 21

    Tim Webster

    You’ll see the road, buildings and sky I’m sure. A true Canberran will recognise it.

    (I’m hopeful 😁)

Ian Dayhew Ian Dayhew 2:25 am 12 Jan 21

Michael Smith you may find this interesting

Jay Annabel Jay Annabel 11:55 pm 11 Jan 21

More burnouts. Must be january.

Andrea Mya Riboust Andrea Mya Riboust 10:54 pm 11 Jan 21

Lol the irony though that this scene in the movie will be in Washington DC. Maybe start popping champagne corks when movies scenes are shot in Canberra for real and not CGI...

Nathan Stack Nathan Stack 10:45 pm 11 Jan 21

So their filming it here, but making it look like la


Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 10:40 pm 11 Jan 21

Why drive through Civic anyway? I purposely walk in front of cars in the shareway to prove a point to drivers how pointless it is to drive in that part of the city

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 7:07 am 12 Jan 21

    That's why I may eye contact for extra effect.

    Sam Ingham Sam Ingham 9:35 am 12 Jan 21

    Russell Nankervis it’s not that part of the city they use. It’s because we have the large circular figure 8 road layouts that directors need for filming road sequences.

    Cath Louise Cath Louise 11:47 am 12 Jan 21

    Russell Nankervis except this is on London circuit, not bunda street

    Kerry Rooney Kerry Rooney 5:40 pm 12 Jan 21

    Russell Nankervis I drive into Civic because I can't walk 50 kms to get there.

    Anthony Olivera Anthony Olivera 5:59 pm 12 Jan 21

    Russell Nankervis Yeah I’m sure it’s “pointless” for tradies to drive through that part of the city if that’s the only way to where they need to work 🤦‍♂️

Rah Rah Rah Rah 10:40 pm 11 Jan 21

Alison Collins take note for your days in the office.

Irina Agaronyan Irina Agaronyan 10:38 pm 11 Jan 21

Wednesday sorted Katelyn Rew #celebrityhunting 😂

Donna Anne Donna Anne 10:28 pm 11 Jan 21

Carren Stapleton so you’ll be here when Liam is here..........

    Carren Stapleton Carren Stapleton 10:39 pm 11 Jan 21

    Donna Anne look Matt Damon in Vegas, Liam in Canberra what can I say 😉🤣

    Richard Usher Richard Usher 1:44 am 12 Jan 21

    Liam is in the states. Its just his stunt double unfortunately

Jacqueline Hyde Jacqueline Hyde 10:17 pm 11 Jan 21

They needed somewhere with 50 roundabouts in the space of 1km?

    Martin Budden Martin Budden 10:33 pm 11 Jan 21

    Jacqueline Hyde look at the map in the article. The only roundabout involved is the pond at the end of Corranderk St. I expect that one to be edited out of the movie because it doesn't fit the Washington DC setting.

James Ballard James Ballard 9:57 pm 11 Jan 21

Having put up with Geocon and the tram for so long, this will be a minor hassle.

Polly Anna Polly Anna 9:55 pm 11 Jan 21

Great stuff

Julia Nesbitt Julia Nesbitt 9:53 pm 11 Jan 21

Ha. Everyone is going to be heading down there for a squiz

Joanne Carvolth Joanne Carvolth 9:42 pm 11 Jan 21

Travis Williamson little old Canberra making it big.

    Joanne Carvolth Joanne Carvolth 10:24 am 12 Jan 21

    Travis Williamson we are basically SA film now.

Debiann Evans Debiann Evans 9:41 pm 11 Jan 21

Jorgie - lucky we aren’t in the office this week!

Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 9:39 pm 11 Jan 21

Hmm, getting to my dentist is going to be interesting later this week. As for my usual bus stop, forget that.

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 9:19 pm 11 Jan 21

Wait, that wasn’t it in Braddon last weekend?

    Jake Demery Jake Demery 9:33 pm 11 Jan 21

    Shane Jasprizza Hollywood by day, Bogans by night. Civic will be busy mate!

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