Young Melburnian on The Water Diviner

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There has been a bit of press this last week about Dylan Georgiades, a young Greek-Aussie from Melbourne, who plays Orhan in The Water Diviner. Dylan had a crash course in Turkish to play the role of a young boy from Constantinople and did a wonderful job.

Dylan from his IMDB page

Dylan from his IMDB page

For his first major film role he had to skip some school to travel all over Australia, spent a couple of weeks in Istanbul and work with Russell Crowe. Nice work if you can get it! We caught up in Istanbul a couple of times, and he presents as a terrific, level-headed young man with loads of charm. I don’t dare say anything else – he’s about to do his grading for his black belt in karate. καλή τύχη, Dylan.

Read more about Dylan’s experience on The Water Diviner in his own words, here and here.

Water Divining with Weinstein

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As le carpet rouge is rolled up and the champagne bottles are put out for recycling at Cannes there are few bits of Water Diviner related news that may have escaped your attention. It was hard to miss Turkish director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, winning the Palme d’Or for Winter Sleep – what’s the connection? Only that I love “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia”, his film that won the Grand Prix a couple of years ago. It was the first time I’d seen Yilmaz Erdogan on screen, despite the myriad films he has done, and it is a real pleasure for me to now see him in The Water Diviner. 

The other news, is that Russell has cut together a 12 minute teaser that he presented to potential distributors in Cannes. Deadline are reporting that Harvey Weinstein’s company, TWC, has offered $4 million and a widespread release in the US for The Water Diviner.  See their article here. It’s hard to imagine the film in better hands.

 

The First Official Look at The Water Diviner

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In case you missed it on Channel Seven tonight – or are overseas friends – here is a YouTube link to the first official look at The Water Diviner. It’s narrated by Russell Crowe, as he tells of his journey as a director and introduces the main cast including Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Ryan Corr, Yilmaz Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz. There is also some beautiful footage from location in Turkey, South Australia and Sydney – and just the slightest hint at the action you can expect to see. Russell and the extraordinary cast and crew are bringing this story to life in a way I could never have imagined. 

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(Russell Crowe on location in South Australia. Source: adelaidenow.com.au)

The Water Divenire is on song

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Not sure if you caught up with Russell Crowe on Jimmy Fallon the other night? It was broadcast in Australia this evening on ABC2. If you want to see Russell’s cracking version of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues try YouTube, here. But I digress. He also mentioned an Italian classical composition that he’s been listening to with The Water Diviner front of mind. The work he was talking about is coincidentally called “Divenire”, by Ludovico Einaudi.  Nothing to do with divining – in Italian it means something approximating ‘becoming’. Find it on YouTube here.

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Ludovico Einaudi (Image source: laprimaweb.it)

If you’re interested in Einaudi’s work, he played and recorded a concert live from his home in January last year on his YouTube channel with some of the most hauntingly beautiful classical tracks I’ve heard. Tracks that just scream film.

(Written with the caveat that I’m a writer not a musician).

Magnificent, Seven onboard for The Water Diviner

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Seven is one of those meaningful numbers that appears and reappears in history. The Seven Hills of Rome (and Constantinople), Seven Sages of Greece, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Seven Days, Seven Seas, Seven Continents, Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man. Not to mention 007 and the Magnificent Seven. So the recent news that Seven (that’s Seven West Media and Seven Group Holdings in Australia) has confirmed their investment in The Water Diviner is portentous.

It seems a great fit for Kerry Stokes, Seven Network’s Chairman too. He is on the Council of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and has been helping keep some of Australia’s most significant war medals, such as Victoria Crosses, in Australia (at no small expense to himself I presume).

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Victoria Cross for valour (Image source: Wikipedia.org)

I don’t know Kerry, so this is not a plug for a mate. I just think it’s a great philanthropic thing he’s been doing for the country. The prices these medal sets can bring at auction can be understandably high, and well beyond the resources of our public institutions. So for a citizen to take it upon themselves to chip in like that is to be admired.

There’s more detail on Seven’s interest in The Water Diviner here, from if.com.au, and Hollywood Reporter.

 

The Water Diviner Heats Up

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It’s official. South Australia is sizzling hot, and not in the Hollywood hype way.  It has been over 40 degrees (celsius!) in Adelaide for 10 days running. One more makes it a record-breaking heatwave.  So not the sort of weather you want to be sitting up a windmill, ambushing trains, riding in a full suit on horseback or blowing things up.

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(Source: smh.com.au)

Over January the production has been working in Burra and Quorn in South Australia’s scorching mid-North. Places you can literally cook an egg on the bonnet (that’s a hood in the northern hemisphere) of your car. So no one can say the cast members of The Water Diviner aren’t suffering for their art (it was 49.5 degrees on set last week).

The Age has some beautiful location shots here, and an interview with Russell Crowe on set. He jokes with the Courier Mail about journalists wanting to see him hit over the head with a log. The Advertiser was there for a continuous 20-minute take. Read more on that.

Russell Crowe Water Divining in Sydney

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Shooting on The Water Diviner is taking a hard-earned Chrissie break. We pick up again in the new year on location in South Australia and Turkey. This week we recreated a Turkish market at Millers Point. Yahoo!& News have posted some footage and shots of Russell Crowe and Olga Kurylenko in the bazaar.

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(Source: Yahoo!&News)

While I’m on Christmas turkey, I recently visited the island of Gemiler, near Fethiye in South Western Turkey. The island has the ruins of a series of Byzantine churches and an extraordinary processional way that leads to the summit of the island. The sunset is a knockout. Archaeologists believe that the island was the original resting place of St Nicholas, good old Santa Claus. He would have cooked in summer in the red velour outfit and beard but it’s a nice twist on the North Pole story.

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(Millers Point bazaar. Source: Yahoo!7News)

Turkish Star On The Rise

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The recent news that Yilmaz Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz (both living national treasures in Turkey) have signed up for The Water Diviner might have tweaked your curiosity about the Turkish Film Industry. I’m a huge fan and confess to having been a complete Turkophile for the last twenty years.

This recent article from Variety on the health of Turkish Film, and this one from Today’s Zaman, might help put things in perspective. The Turkish economy is hotter than a bathhouse steam room in summer, and the Turkish TV and film industries are stronger than ever. Turkey’s most popular film last year, the historical epic ‘Fetih 1453′, grossed over $30 million. The impressive thing about the Turkish film market is how much Turks enjoy locally produced movies, and how they support them. Nor does it hurt the international profile of the industry when movies like Taken 2, Skyfall and The International showcase Istanbul as they have.

Venus holding the ‘golden orange’ awards (Source: yenisafak.com.tr)

The Turkish industry celebrates its achievements every year at the Golden Orange Film Festival (Altin Portakal), in Antalya (not Istanbul which has its own International Film Festival). Dubbed the “Turkish Oscars”, the Golden Orange has been around since the early sixties and is the oldest in the country. I haven’t been to the event yet but hope to get there one day soon. I’m happy to say that some of the notable award winners in recent years have also been favourite films of mine. For the uninitiated, Bal (Honey), Once Upon A Time in Anatolia, Nest, Edge of Heaven, Hamam (Steam), Head On, The Magician, Hunting Season, Rhino Season and The Butterfly’s Dreaming are all great places to start your Turkish film journey if you even the slightest Turk-curious.

Russell Crowe hones cast for The Water Diviner

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Russell Crowe has been at the American Film Market (AFM) this week announcing new cast members of The Water Diviner. Those who know the Turkish films Once Upon A Time in Anatolia or The Butterfly’s Dream will be excited to hear Yilmaz Erdogan is playing a Turkish officer in The Water Diviner.

Yilmaz Erdogan: Image sourced from reverbnation.com

Cem Yilmaz, star of Hunting Season and The Magician, and one of Turkey’s most popular actors and comics has also signed up.

Cem Yilmaz: Image sourced from opsiyonhaber.com

Russell has some interesting things to say about his affection for Peter Weir’s seminal film, Gallipoli, and the idea of The Water Diviner being about the human fallout from the campaign. This article in Variety has more detail.

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