Bellingen is really buzzing

By UTE SCHULENBERG

WHAT is happening with Eucalyptus?

Filming that was scheduled to start today, has now been postponed for another week.

But location manager, Peter Lawless, said this latest delay was in order to give Nicole Kidman more rehearsal time.

"Filming will now start at 7am next Monday," Mr Lawless said.

"Most of the crew will be travelling up on Friday and will have the weekend to settle into their accommodation."

Already at least 15 homes around Bellingen have been vacated, for good profit, to make way for the crew and their families over the 10 weeks of filming.

Bookings with the latter may however be more for security purposes ? when asked, Bellingen locals have revealed a number of places as the location where Nicole is staying with her two children.

Mr Lawless laughed.

"That's good ? the rumour spreading network is obviously working."

He said the delay was a good thing for the members of the art department, who were finetuning the dressing of the house out in the Promised Land, where filming will begin.

Even this part of the operation has had its ripples in the community.

As in Danny Deckchair, props are being borrowed from around the town.

One woman was asked if she would hire out an antique lamp a crew member spotted in her home.

Even the humble job of lawnmower is on the to-do list for organisers, with a local needed to regularly mow all 15 lawns for the duration of the shoot.

And local artists are in demand too.

Mr Lawless said three had been asked to submit work that will be used as props for movie.

No matter when the shooting begins, the collective buzz of anticipation is palpable.

"Everyone here is very excited about the movie, especially with the high calibre of the stars involved," Cr Ralph Lynch said.

"The publicity the movie will give to the shire worldwide, is a huge boost for morale and tourism."

He said people were looking forward to a bit of celebrity spotting and although no public event for the community to meet the stars was planned, he hoped Nicole and Russell would feel comfortable to stroll up the street.

Bellingen Shire councillors had their own opportunity to do a bit of performing for the cameras yesterday.

Channel Nine's A Current Affair arrived, eager to get a local angle to this news story that has the Sydney media in a frenzy.

They filmed the councillors discussing a (real) request by Gum Leaf Productions for the temporary closure of part of the Promised Land Road in March for outside filming.

As no objections had been received from the residents of the area, the councillors were happy to accommodate the request ? on dates to be confirmed.

THE arrival of celebrities is one thing for Bellingen, but is the town ready for the arrival of the paparazzi?

Already helicopters have taken journalists from the Sunday Telegraph and Sun Herald out for aerial views of the site.

Will they get their story?

At this stage Mr Lawless said Russell Crowe had asked for the set to be completely closed.

That means there will be no opportunity for the media or visitors to come on set.

Russell is one of five executive producers for the film ? and we hope he relents, at least for the locals!



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