An all-star cast including Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler and Scott Glenn were able to enjoy Melbourne surrounds and vibrant food and arts culture, when the storylines moved the action to Australia.
Series co-creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof, Executive Producer Eugene Kelly and Director Mimi Leder led the charge taking the production Down Under with Lindelof saying Australia was always front of mind as a filming destination.
“We had a sense of what the season would be and the different looks we wanted to get and we knew that we were going to be starting in a fairly urban environment and gradually getting out and moving into a more rural environment,” Damon said.
“We also wanted to have some flavor of what we thought of as the outback …which really only looks the way that it looks in Australia.”
“Mimi Leder, who is the unsung visual hero of The Leftovers … brought a team down with Tom Spezialy – another executive producer on the show. They travelled to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide [to get] a sense of what the different looks would be available, what the stages were like, what the crew base was going to be and I started hearing as soon as they got to Melbourne that [it] was really going to be the place that felt like it fit best with the show we had designed.”
Docklands Studios Melbourne served as the production base with a two of the sound stages housing sets.
Executive Producer Eugene Kelly reflected on his experience filming at the Docklands Studios Melbourne saying it was a major drawcard for the production. “We used a couple of the stages, the construction workshops, the wardrobe/costume spaces and art department and production offices, which were all based in Docklands – this meant we had the ability to spread out. “
“Docklands Studios was a big reason why Melbourne was our choice…I can only speak highly of our experience there.”
Outside of the studios, inner Melbourne areas of Brighton, Newport, Sandringham, Flemington and Fitzroy became the backdrop for many of the suburban sequences while Melbourne Museum, the State Library and RMIT University were also featured in the episodes.
Regional Victoria also saw filming activity with Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Centre in Little River and Clunes bringing to life the outback aspects of the series.
A purpose built house was constructed in the You Yangs – a unique find which Damon credits to Eugene who filmed parts of The Pacific there in 2008.
“Eugene Kelly … had pre-existing relationships with the crews based out of Melbourne but also understood you can just go 45 minutes out of the city and get this amazing look, so he knew about the You Yangs and I think that might have been one of the reasons we ended up there.”
Film Victoria’s CEO Jenni Tosi said “We were delighted to welcome Eugene Kelly back to Melbourne and it was fabulous to have him and HBO endorse the creative strengths of Victoria. More than 250 cast and crew were employed on the production and to know their work on this prestige series will be seen around the world is a real bonus.”
The series brought together experienced local crews with a great depth of talent and strong work ethic.
“They (Australians) have this unique blend of not taking themselves too seriously but taking the work incredibly seriously and I feel that they also work with great speed,” Damon said.
“It really infused the work with a nice sense of energy and it’s nice to not shoot until three in the morning.”
Film Victoria landed the star-studded HBO drama series through its on ground support and attractive production incentive program backed by the Victorian Government.
“Every resource that we needed was basically afforded us by Film Victoria,” Damon remarked.
“We never heard ‘no’ and I think that we just learned a lot about how to optimize the incredible sort of power and spectrum available to us in this very narrow range of miles. I never cease to be amazed by the fact that we were based out of Melbourne but we were able to get so many unique looks. “
Damon expressed his delight at the positive filming experience he had saying: “We always wanted to shoot Australia for Australia. I’d never been to Australia before this show… I really wrote this show so that I’d have an excuse to go … it’s really unlike any other place that I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to go back.”
For more information on Victoria’s production incentives and filming locations contact:
For more information about filming at Docklands Studios Melbourne contact: