Australian actors Stephen Curry, Brendan Cowell and Damon Gameau head to India in early January to film the Australian comedy Save Your Legs!
The film is inspired by a feature-length documentary of the same name that was made about seven years ago and followed an audacious cricket tour of India by a group of men from Melbourne's Abbotsford Anglers Cricket Club. It was a case of childhood dreams meet harsh realities but while many matches were lost, many friends are made.
Boyd Hicklin, who was one of those D-grade Abbotsford cricketers, directed the documentary and is also directing the new “coming-of-middle-age bromance” from a script by Cowell, who co-wrote the feature Ten Empty and has written many short films. It will be Hicklin's first dramatic feature.
Save Your Legs! will be in production from January 10 to February 12 in Calcutta, Mumbai and Varanasi; cast and crew spent last week filming at various locations around Melbourne as a precursor. During this early action, New Zealand fast-bowling legend Sir Richard Hadlee made a guest appearance as an umpire during a staged match that just happened to be during a New Zealand/Australian test match. Australia lost, enabling Hadlee to undertake some good-natured gloating.
The producers are Nick Batzias and Robyn Kershaw, who produced two of Australia's most popular films, Bran Nue Dae and Looking For Alibrandi. Like Hicklin, Batzias was one of the real-life touring suburban cricketers. He is also a senior executive at distribution company Madman, which will usher the film into Australian cinemas late next year.
Save Your Legs! is being made under the Madman Entertainment and Robyn Kershaw Productions banners. Their partners and investors in the project are government film agencies Screen Australia and Film Victoria, the Victorian Government, the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund, post-production company Deluxe and the Nine Network.
The 2009 Australian film The Waiting City, in which Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton play a couple wishing to adopt a baby, was also filmed in India, but it is not common. India has a substantially bigger film industry and it is more common for Indian films, or sections of them, to be filmed in Australia, the most recent being Prateek Chakravorty's From Sydney … With Love.
A co-production treaty between the two countries is currently being negotiated. If finalised, it will make co-operation between the nations easier, in part because films made under such government-to-government agreements can access subsidies and other forms of assistance in both places.
Australia has co-production arrangements with 11 countries, being Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the UK, although this one is currently being renegotiated. Negotiations are also happening with Denmark, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea.