Govt closing in on deal to film Disney classic in Australia

THE Federal Government is believed to be close to finalising a deal with Disney for David Fincher's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to be filmed in Australia.

If the government, with the help of the counterparts in New South Waled and Queensland, succeeds in luring Disney it will be the biggest movie ever made in Australia.

Arts Minister Simon Crean met with Disney directors on Friday and said while the talks were fruitful there was still work to be done to get the deal over the line.

While not revealing details of the government's offer, Mr Crean used as context the $12 million the Commonwealth put up to secure the filming of Wolverine in Australia.

"And this is a bigger production," Mr Crean said.

"We've made an offer which, from the Commonwealth's point of view, fits the bill but what's needed now to close it is the commitments from Queensland and NSW, because they will be shooting in multiple locations," Mr Crean said.

Everything going to plan a deal could be finalised in the next two weeks.

Mr Crean said Australian production crews were considered to be among the best in the world.

But the high Australian dollar made it difficult to attract major productions down under.

"We've got to ... address the competitiveness, not the skill base. If it were just down to the skill base, there would be no question. We would be winning all the time," he said.

Mr Crean said Australia could expect to see more than 2000 jobs created from the production, given that's how many the Wolverine production would generate.

"Then you've got the sites, the locations, which involve a whole range of regional communities, in the case of Wolverine in New South Wales. So you can expect that in Queensland and wherever else they choose to shoot it," he said.

Casting decisions are yet to be made for 20,000 Leagues, although Brad Pitt is considered a frontrunner given his working relationship with Fincher.

Topics:  australian government entertainment film movies walt disney

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