/News 28.09.23

South Australian Outback Stands Out with Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel

It was the beauty of the outback that drew Kitty Green’s new thriller The Royal Hotel to film in South Australia, and critics are praising that “inspired” choice of location following the film’s international premiere at the 50th Telluride Film Festival, with Deadline highlighting the cinematography as “pitch perfect”.

Directed and co-written by Kitty Green (The Assistant, Casting JonBenet) with Oscar Redding (Van Diemen’s Land), The Royal Hotel stars Julia Garner (The Assistant, Inventing Anna, Ozark) and Jessica Henwick (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Marvel’s Iron Fist) as Hanna and Liv, two friends backpacking in Australia whose time working in a small town pub rapidly spirals out of control.

The South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) supported film was shot in the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios and on location in Yatina, located 220km (135 miles) north of South Australia’s capital Adelaide.

During the film’s production the normally sleepy outback town swelled from a population of just 31 as hundreds of cast and crew descended, and the historic 1874 Yatina Hotel took on a new life as the film’s titular Royal Hotel.

The Royal Hotel producer Kath Shelper (The New Boy, Samson & Delilah) said that the convenience of having the Adelaide Studios production facilities so close to the shooting locations was a major factor in deciding to film in South Australia.

“The studios there and the production offices are just great, and the crew is really fantastic. And then within an hour, two hours’ drive out of Adelaide, you have all these incredible locations.”

Kath Shelper, Producer on The Royal Hotel

The Hollywood Reporter was full of praise for the film’s setting, stating: “The location shooting in South Australia captures the barrenness and the beauty of the setting, and combines seamlessly with well-designed studio interiors.”

The film has already earned a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes with early reviews from The Wrap and Hollywood Reporter commending the leads’ “flawless” performances, and the LA Times declaring it “tense and beautifully sustained”. Vanity Fair described the film as “an appealingly uncomfortable watch”, while IndieWire labelled it a “masterfully constructed pressure cooker” and Screendaily called it “a devastating drama on masculinity”.

The Royal Hotel has also been selected as the Opening Night film for the inaugural SXSW Sydney and the 2023 Adelaide Film Festival, where Green is set to walk the red carpet with star Weaving.

The diversity and versatility of South Australia’s natural landscapes has made the state a sought after destination for international productions, with a host of major titles filming in the outback in recent years, including Warwick Thornton’s The New Boy (2023), Ivan Sen’s Limbo (2023), unscripted Fox series Stars on Mars (2023), season one of BBC One and HBO Max hit The Tourist (2022), Zac Efron thriller Gold (2022), and blockbuster Mortal Kombat (2021).

The Royal Hotel will appear in US theatres from October 6, following Neon’s acquisition of the North American rights last year.