‘Australians deserve to have a choice’: Eric Bana welcomes the ‘challenge’ of local productions taking on Hollywood

Australia has long been competing with Hollywood to produce blockbuster films and the sequel to 2020 film, The Dry, may be the one to finally turn that corner.

The Dry – based on the popular Jane Harper novel – hit cinemas in December 2020 during COVID; a period when local cinemas were only starting to reopen and it was unknown if people would even be comfortable going back to the theatre.

However, despite this, The Dry went on to be a critical and commercial hit, having one of the highest grossing Australian film opening weekends ever ($3.5 million) and is currently the 15th highest grossing local movie of all time, which has culminated in the sequel, Force of Nature: The Dry 2, released in cinemas this week.

Appearing on the latest episode of The Plug podcast with Neil Griffiths, the film’s star and executive producer, Eric Bana, said The Dry’s success is proof that Australians want local stories told on the big screen.

“They deserve to have a choice. They pay their taxes and a lot of tax cuts get given to American productions to come out here and rebates and so forth,” Bana said.

“And so, Australians deserve to be able to go and see a big Australian film as well. We want to take on that challenge.

Eric Bana in Force of Nature: The Dry 2

“It’s difficult for us. We’re competing for crews, we’re on limited budgets in comparison. So, it’s much tougher. But we feel really passionate about it, and we’re indebted to our crews who come and work on our films and the challenge that it presents.”

Bana admitted that the success of The Dry in 2020 was a shock to him given the situation at the time, while COVID saw a number of US productions head to Australia due to restrictions including Thor: Love and Thunder, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic and Ticket To Paradise, starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, which was shot on the Gold Coast.

“In America, things are become a hit within the first week or two and that’s it. Where as The Dry just kept on building and building,” Bana said.

“We just kind of became this kind of juggernaut and that gave us the opportunity to do this and so here we are and fingers crossed all over again.”

Listen to the full conversation here.

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 is in cinemas everywhere now.


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