Bananas get starring role

BANANA stools from Coffs Harbour are on their way to Sydney's Fox Studios to play a starring role alongside Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in the latest Baz Luhrmann big-screen extravaganza, Australia.

The eight tall slender 'extras' are being rushed into the breach after some wild weather in Queensland apparently forced the cancellation of planned filming at Bowen, pushing the actors and crew into the studio in Sydney.

So an SOS call went out to Coffs Harbour Department of Primary Industries horticulturist Greig Ireland.

Mr Ireland, who is used to strange agricultural requests, sprang into action in the hunt for bananas with star qualities.

Before he started bending the ears of growers to leaf through their plantations, Coffs Harbour's Sohan Atwal said he could guarantee a chorus line with appeal.

Mr Atwal said yesterday it was the first time he had supplied banana stools for a film, but he had previously provided plants for weddings and they had proved a hit with the guests, so he was confident the local bananas would not wilt under the international spotlight.

In spite of recent improved prices for the fruit, he is quite philosophical about the bunches of bananas that he is sacrificing in 'casting' the plants in the film.

"I was going to pull out that patch and plant blueberries anyway," he said.

Greig Ireland said because it was midwinter, he had been concerned about the tattered appearance of the leaves on local bananas, but the movie studio had reassured him that the storms had damaged the Bowen banana plantations in the original scenes so much that any bedraggled 'hems' would fit right into the frame.

The plants are being trucked to Sydney carefully encased in bags and wraps and will reach the studio today.

The film Australia follows the career of a wealthy English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman), who inherits a large property in Australia and finds love and other adventures in the bush.

It is due to be released in cinemas worldwide in November, 2008.

DO you know of any other strange requests like this for film extras? Email us at

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