Sydney Filming Locations: The Matrix (1999)

Can’t say I ever cared too much for this 1999 film but it does have some great action scenes which in some ways compensate for the “as if!” moments. Even though it doesn’t reference Sydney that is where most of it was filmed as the city’s Central Business District portrayed a generic metropolis better than most of its world city counterparts due to the lack of highly recognisable skyscrapers.

Keanu Reeves plays Neo; the computer programmer who leads a double life and is chased down by Matrix agents on 12 mins at the Westpac Plaza (below left) on 273 George Street where he works. He does try to escape from them by climbing out on to the window ledge on 16 mins before admitting defeat and giving himself up for capture.

 

The combat training featuring the distracting woman in the red dress takes place at Martin Place (above right) on 57 mins where the street meets Pitt Street. This circular fountain is where Morpheus tries to explain something or another about the Matrix and six years later the very same fountain appeared in ‘Superman Returns‘. A screenshot and different photo from that film can be seen here.

Chifley Plaza at 2 Chifley Square is the tower (below left) holding the restaurant which comes on screen after 64 mins where Cypher switches sides over a juicy and delicious steak with Agent Smith whilst uttering some b*llocks about his steak not really existing.

 

The Westin Hotel at 1 Martin Place (above right) was used for interior shots involving the chase scenes and the ‘deja vu’ cat around the 78 min mark on the hotels grand staircase below.

 

 

Above left is the Colonial State Bank Centre which can be found at 52 Martin Place. Agent Smith holds Morpheus captive here on 91 mins after their slowly choreographed fight 27 mins earlier. On 106 mins the Aon Tower (above right) at 201 Kent Street can be seen behind the building rooftop where Neo and Trinity take part in one of the most ridiculous slow-mo shooting scenes in cinema history before they take a helicopter on 107 mins and fly in front of the aforementioned Bank Centre where they fire at the evil Smith and his fellow kidnapping pals. Morpheus leaps for freedom and is miraculously caught by Neo as tends to happen in films. The helicopter then flies over Sydney’s relatively anonymous skyscrapers with them dangling down from it. Having dropped off Morpheus, Neo lands safely on the Allianz Centre (below left) on 110 mins but the helicopter crashes into the British Telecom Tower (below right) opposite it. These two buildings are located at 2 Market Street and 1 Market Street respectively.

 

Much of the film was of course made in the studio with Fox Studios Australia (below left) in Moore Park being the ones used. ‘Star Wars Episode III‘ and ‘Moulin Rouge‘ among others were also shot here. The corner of Pitt Street and Hunter Street (below right) was the location for the fake phonebox where Neo makes a final phone call to the machines on 128 mins.

 

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Sydney Filming Locations: Mission Impossible II (2000)

M:I-2‘ as it was officially titled is probably the worst of the Mission Impossible films but thats not to say that its bad. Its just that John Woo’s direction of the sequel grates with me a bit because of all the ridiculous acrobatics, somersaults and slo-mo action scenes.

A lot of the movie was filmed in New South Wales (NSW), particularly in Sydney and it starts straight away with the camera panning over the Opera House (below left) and on to Biocyte Pharmaceuticals which in reality is Governor Phillip Tower (below right). It can be found in the north-east area of the Central Business District (CBD) at 29/1 Farrer Place, Sydney NSW 2000.

   

Argyll Street in The Rocks (below) doubles up as Seville in Spain and is where Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) meets Nyah (Thandie Newton). During filming the street was totally transformed with dust added to the streets and passionate music playing whilst a religious procession took place.

   

The Spanish driveway scene in “Seville” on 17 mins was shot at Boomerang Mansion (above) at 42 Billyard Avenue in Elizabeth Bay. This three storey mansion has been described as the oldest and finest example of Spanish architecture in Australia and is private property so the only view I could really get of it was from Beare Park.

On 34 mins the beautiful Nyah is driven under Sydney Harbour Bridge on the boat which takes her to villain Sean Ambrose’s apartment which was located at Bradley Head on Mosman and can be seen after 36 mins and again on 42 mins. The apartment was just a set prop so I didn’t feel it too necessary to take a boat over to Mosman instead settling for a long distance view (lower right) of it taken from one of the towers on the bridge.

 

 

Broken Hill in the far west outback of NSW appears on 35 mins as the remote sheep station where Hunt meets up with his team; the Aussie pilot and the computer expert.

 

46 mins in and we see Royal Randwick Racecourse. This is the type of place I wouldn’t bother with usually when hunting down filming locations but as I was staying 5 minutes walk away at my friends house I jumped at the chance of seeing it. The course is undergoing a bit of reconstruction at the moment which probably worked in my favour as it meant it was open and I could just walk in and take the photos below.

 

The screenshots (below) are of Darling Harbour; the location featured on 86 mins where Ambrose parks up and shows the virus in the test-tube to Nyah leading her to slap him and is then left to wander the streets of Sydney in a daze having previously injected herself with the virus to stop him killing her to get it. I had planned to go here but ultimately ran out of time and considered it low priority as it was a little out of the way from all the other areas of Sydney I was concentrating on on this trip.

 

The most interesting filming location from M:I-2 has to be Bare Island in La Peruse down in Bottany Bay which makes its big screen debut at the 87 minute mark. The place where Cruise climbs up the cliff face is on the left side near to the back and is usually just a place for fishermen to dip their tackle in and see what bites. The tower with all the satellite dishes on it was a prop added to the island by the producers.

 

     

This island fortress is Ambrose’s bunker headquarters where his transition with Biocyte’s CEO takes place. Cruise rides his motorcycle through balls of fire in what is perhaps the most iconic scene from the whole movie. Its certainly the one which is seen on most posters or pictures relating to the film. The little castle looking building (above right) can be seen 104 mins in as a fairly lengthy motorcycle chase seemingly goes round in circles and doesn’t actually go as far as it would appear on screen. It can be seen in the top of the  picture (lower left) which shows how close it is to the point where Hunt escapes from the fort.

   

The film ends in the Royal Botanic Gardens (below) by the Opera House on 117 mins with the two heroes kissing and walking off arm in arm through the place as we get a final aerial view of Sydneys two most famous landmarks.

 

Want to see more Mission Impossible filming locations? If so, then check out:

London Filming Locations: Mission Impossible (1996) – click here.

Prague Filming Locations: Mission Impossible (1996) – click here.

Caserta (Italy) Filming Locations: Mission Impossible III (2006) – click here.

Sydney Filming Locations: Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

Whilst I was in Sydney I was interested in seeing the church where Muriel got married in ‘Muriels Wedding‘ which admittedly is a bit sa-a-a-a-a-a-d but that is what I do. Following google’s directions on my iPad I walked there in an hour from my base in Randwick on the final day of my trip. Luckily it was nice weather although the glaring sunshine did ruin my shot of the church a bit. Its located on 53 Darling Point Road and is known as the not-so-snappy St. Mark’s Anglican Church Darling Point. All the photos on the left side below are screenshots from the film with my own ones next to them on the right.

         

Melbourne Filming Locations: Various

It may not have been featured as much in international movies as much as its rival Sydney but Melbourne has had its moments on the big screen albeit in lesser known productions. It was way back in 1959 that ’On The Beach‘ was filmed in parts of Frankston including the beach seen below. Needless to say that the place looks very different but I guess I have just said that! Its first screen appearance is on 16 mins.

     

A much more famous landmark used was Melbourne’s iconic central railway station, Flinders Street Station (above) which serves over 100,000 commuters every day. It also appears to be very busy when its seen after 57 mins.

Russell Crowe is a famous actor now but when he filmed ‘Romper Stomper‘ in 1992 around Footscray Station (below) he was just starting out in the acting world. This film is quite a hard watch due to its strong violent and racial content. You have been warned! Following the movies opening title credits we see the station appear with skateboarders going along its platform.  However, I have since read that it was actually Richmond station filling in for Footscray but given that its 20 years on now and the screenshots are very dark I really can’t tell if theres any validity in that statement.

    

Singer Alliyah was tragically killed in a plane crash in 2002 shortly after filming ‘Queen of the Damned’. It was released six months later and just as tragic is how awful the film is! Small things like that don’t deter me from hunting down some of its locations but I sure wasn’t gonna bust a gut to do so. Below left is RMIT University on Swanston Street which doubled up as a Warner Brothers Records HQ in London. Below right is the bar on 95 Flinders Lane which became the vampire nightclub.

   

Just round the corner from that is Duckboard Place (above) where Jesse can be seen walking around the streets of “London”.

Mad Max‘ is one of Australia’s most famous exports and this 1979 film which brought Mel Gibson to fame was filmed around Melbourne and Victoria. My primary goal was to locate the car park within Melbourne University but I left empty handed on that one due to the sheer size of the place and possibly the fact that it was a Sunday when I was on site and a lot of it was closed. However, on the way home I did get off at South Yarra station where I walked round the corner to Claremont Street which was the car park setting (below) where Goose burns rubber on his exit. Thanks to this Mad Max site for the info.

   

My favourite Bollywood film has to be 2005′s ‘Salaam Namaste‘. Oh Ok its the only one I’ve ever seen but I found it enjoyable enough, even the parts where they break into typical Indian song and dance. As well as Bourke Street Mall there were three other such scenes taking place at the following:

* Yarra Bridge (below) – The screenshot on 66 mins with Nick in it features Flinders Street Station in the background whereas my shot was taken from the other side of the river.

 

* Federation Square (below) – I couldn’t find a clip from the film featuring this place but I did come across the behind-the-scenes shot below left.

 

* St Kilda Beach – I didn’t actually go to St Kilda on this trip (apart from the F1 Grand Prix) but I used to live there and returned five years ago to take a trip down memory lane. The beach you see in the ‘Salaam Namaste‘ theme title song after 28 mins is St Kilda (below) though it looks far more impressive on screen than in reality. I can only presume it was filmed over the other side of the pier but I’m really not sure.

  

Melbourne Filming Locations: Neighbours (1986 – Present)

For a lot of British people their images of suburban Australia life are based solely on how the residents of Ramsay Street spend their lives in ‘Neighbours‘. This soap opera has been on the air since 1986 and I saw almost all of the episodes from the first nine years before taking a five year hiatus. I haven’t seen a moment of the show since 2005 but it will always have a place in my heart.

For those wanting to know what my first ever filming locations were then Ramsay Street in fictional Erinsbrough is the answer not that my obsession with locations started till many years later. In reality the street is known as Pin Oak Court in Vermont South (Melbourne) and I first went there in March 2001 with Chris and Dave who I was travelling with at the time. I then returned to the street with Richard Richard in January 2002 as he wanted to go with someone and may have even offered to pay for my train ticket in return for accompanying him. Mind you, he did only buy me a children’s train ticket!

Just days after my nephew Eifion was born my sister Ruth and I went with him to the street for my third visit. I wasn’t really planning to go there this time but when we didn’t bother to go to the ‘Meet the Neighbours’ night as we had planned I thought I should get my ‘Neighbours’ fix by going to the street yet again.

There are only six houses in the street which are used for filming outside from time to time even though in the show the house numbers are known as 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32. These are real houses and people do live there and have to put up with people like me taking pictures and hanging around the street all the time. I lived in a similar style cul-de-sac when I was younger which was great as we could play in the street without trouble but that probably wouldn’t be possible or certainly not advisable here with all the visitors to the street. The pictures of the houses below are in the order you find them on the street going from left to right. The interiors you see on screen are not the same as in these houses and are of course all set in the Global Television studios.

     

The photos below show how the street looks from the bottom (below left & lower left) and the top (below right)

      

Bonus: Three of the above photos were taken back in 2001 and 2002. The top right one is the ‘Neighbours’ kitchen from 26 Ramsay Street which is in the Melbourne Museum. The two lower pictures were shot at the ‘Meet the Neighbours Night’ in St Kilda in January 2002 featuring actresses Dee Bliss (Madeleine West) and Steph Scully (Carla Bonner).

Australia Filming Locations – The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (1994)

“I have always wanted to travel to the center of Australia, climb Kings Canyon as a queen, in a full-length Gaultier sequin, heels and a tiara.”

No, they’re not my words but the ones uttered in the 1994 comedy ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ which brought this canyon to my attention many many years after its release. I had to get up super-early to be ready for a 4am departure so that we would be at the canyon early morning to do the walk. There were two walk options which were basically down below (canyon creek walk) or up top (rim walk) of which I chose the latter.      

After 88 mins of ’The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ the three drag queens begin their ascend of Kings Canyon starting off on the same steps and going on through some fairly nondescript parts before they reach the area below where there is a gap between the two rocks.

   

We then see the strange dome shaped rocks above for a brief second or two before we see some helicopter shots looking down at the three characters from above so I wasn’t quite able to replicate that so you’ll have to settle for the one above!

The day before that I was in Alice Springs and took a fairly long walk in the early evening to Lasseters Hotel Casino but not to gamble. No, I went there purely and solely because it featured briefly in ‘The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert‘ in 1994 and was the place where the trio of drag queens put on a performance at.