/News 27.06.23


South Australia’s unique Outback landscapes are stunning US audiences in new Fox series Stars on Mars, which premiered earlier this month.

The red deserts and lunar-like landscapes of the unique Outback town of Coober Pedy were transformed into the surface of Mars for the fun new reality series, which sees international celebrities take part in an experiment to experience what it would be like to be a part of a space program exploring and living on the Red Planet.

Hosted by legendary actor and Star Trek icon William Shatner, the series stars 12 celebrity contestants including Lance Armstrong, Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, Vanderpump Rules star Tom Sandoval, Superbad actor Chris Mintz-Plasse, professional wrestler Ronda Rousey, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, and professional football player Richard Sherman.

The series has already proven a hit with US viewers and critics, with The Guardian describing it as “a legit reality gem” and “the celebs-go-to-space show we didn’t know we needed”. The Guardian also praised Coober Pedy as the filming location, saying “The terre battue outback vistas look as authentic as anything Nasa’s Curiosity Rover has beamed home.”

Check out this incredible set build time lapse that shows Coober Pedy’s interplanetary landscape standing in for Mars: 

© @RealityClubFOX

Head to this link for the full timelapse

Filmed in South Australia as part of the Federal Government’s Location Incentive, with additional support from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), Stars on Mars is the largest TV format production ever filmed in the state, produced by Eureka Productions for US network FOX. The production supported SA businesses, vendors and suppliers across a range of sectors from construction and transport to tourism and more, as well as jobs and skills development in the local screen industry.

“We’re thrilled to bring the production of Stars on Mars to Australia, providing hundreds of jobs within the Australian entertainment industry, while also showcasing Coober Pedy. This unique and stunning location offers the ideal setting to recreate the surface of Mars, and we are excited to film the US version of Stars on Mars here for FOX,”
– Chris Culvenor, executive producer Stars on Mars

Find out more about Coober Pedy as a filming location in Ausfilm’s recent Location Spotlight: Coober Pedy, and find out more about South Australia’s full range of locations

New trailer released for Warwick Thornton’s The New Boy 

The official trailer for Warwick Thornton’s stunning new feature film The New Boy has been released, showcasing the stunning rural landscapes of regional South Australia.

The South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) supported film, which was shot last year in Burra, in South Australia’s beautiful Clare Valley region, stars Cate Blanchett, who also produces, and newcomer Aswan Reid alongside Deborah Mailman and Wayne Blair.

Written and directed by Thornton, and set in 1940s Australia, The New Boy is the story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy (Reid) who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery, run by a renegade nun (Blanchett). 

The evocative trailer gives a glimpse into what Variety describes as “an ambitious, visually lustrous fable”, featuring beautiful sweeping shots of the South Australian landscape, and highlights why Deadline has branded Thornton “a master maker of images”.

The New Boy dazzled both critics and crowds as the opening night gala for the Sydney Film Festival on 7 June.

The film’s Australian premiere in Sydney garnered it four stars from Time Out which described it as a “haunting Outback fable”, labelling Reid a “star in the making”, while the Sydney Morning Herald branded it one of the “hottest tickets at Sydney Film Festival”. That followed rave reviews from the film’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last month where The Hollywood Reporter wrote “Warwick Thornton’s command of visual storytelling has possibly never been as striking as it is in the rural setting of The New Boy.”

“In all my career, I’ve never felt a room like you,” Thornton reportedly told the audience after the Sydney Film Festival screening, in what Variety described as a “churning, heartfelt moment”.

The New Boy is produced by Kath Shelper for Scarlett Pictures, Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and co-producer Georgie Pym for Dirty Films, and Lorenzo De Maio (of De Maio Entertainment), with Coco Francini serving as executive producer for Dirty Films alongside Gretel Packer for Longbridge Nominees.

The New Boy has major production investment from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in association with Screen NSW and the SAFC. Roadshow Films is handling distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

The New Boy is in cinemas 6 July.