John D. Lamond, one of the pioneers of Australia's sexploitation film industry, aims to shoot his first movie in Oz since 1986's Sky Pirates later this year.
The writer-producer-director's comeback project is Jetlagged, an erotic thriller about a Japanese woman who seduces an American guy on a plane and takes him to her apartment in Surfers Paradise where they have a fight which results in his death.
“It's film noirish with elements of Body Heat, Basic Instinct and the French film Plein Soleil (Purple Noon),” Lamond told SBS Film.
He'll write and direct the film, working with his long-time director of photography Garry Wapshott and sound recordist Gary Wilkins, and intends to shoot on location and at the Village Roadshow Studios. For the lead roles he's keen to cast Guy Pearce and Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi of Babel fame.
Lamond plans to take advantage of the 40 per cent producer rebate but won't be seeking funding from government agencies. “I have talked to film bodies and it's like dealing with Film Bulgaria or a Masonic Lodge,” he said, relishing his reputation as a maverick which he earned with his early works including the documentaries Australia After Dark and The ABC of Love and Sex: Australia Style and the movies Felicity (pictured) and Pacific Banana.
The AllMovie guide praised Felicity, the saga of a sheltered teen who is deflowered in Hong Kong, for its “light hearted, romantic approach to erotica that makes it fun to watch even when it is marking time between sex scenes.”
Less generously the guide described Pacific Banana, which starred Graeme Blundell as a nerdy pilot who sneezes whenever a woman turns him on, causing impotence, as a “smarmy, leering sex-comedy.”
Mark Hartley's documentary Not Quite Hollywood celebrated Lamond's idiosyncratic contributions to the Ozploitation genre, and featured his tongue-in-cheek quote, “I'm told I treat women like a sex object. I suppose it's true because I ask for sex — and they object.”
The happily-married filmmaker returned to Australia two years ago, based on the Gold Coast, after more than 20 years abroad, living in Singapore, London, Thailand and Hong Kong.
His last film as director was Shanghai Lilly, the saga of an American woman whose husband is shot while he's in bed with a prostitute, starring Sam Bottoms (who also appeared in Lamond's 1992 opus North of Chiang Mai), Kay Tong Lim and Leah Di Stasio.
Shot five years ago in a backlot in Singapore and set in 1936, the film languished in legal limbo for a time after one of the financiers suffered a stroke but Lamond managed to sell it to 10 territories, mostly in Asia.
After Jetlagged, he hopes to make The Liberation of Stanley Goldman, a dramedy he's written about an American cook book author who hooks up with a woman who owns a chocolate shop in London. Here's a novelty: the film would be narrated by an animated Shakespeare.
The filmmaker also plans to executive produce several projects including Bangkok Heat, a thriller about a Los Angeles cop who's posted to Thailand, co-written by his son John Lamond Jr., who lives in Bangkok and works in the advertising business.
Lamond senior hasn't been impressed by the Australian films he's seen since his return. Typically outspoken, he tells SBS, “I'm disgusted with the film industry. Australian filmmakers seem inept at portraying sentiment, romance and sex.”