FOLLOWING on from last week’s coverage of the filming of a scene for the Angelina Jolie directed movie “Unbroken” at the Wallaga Lake bridge, this week we can bring you a little more detail on what went down.
The filming took place over three days last week with production extended by one day to try and get some sunshine for the footage.
The film crew based themselves in Bermagui and contracted Bermagui Bait and Tackle to provide logistic support including two boats for shots on the water and under the bridge.
Our correspondent on site was tackle shop staffer Josh Mccue, who also took the photos that have appeared so far in the Narooma News and online.
He was very impressed with professionalism of the film crew, the high quality of their equipment and attention to detail when it came to the costumes and vehicles.
Josh explained about 13 film and production people worked on site doing the actual filming, as well as about 10 extras dressed as either American prisoners or Japanese soldiers and officials, and all were transported by either a classic black Bentley sedan or the replica Japanese army truck.
Also employed were another dozen or so support workers who helped with traffic control and other duties, he said.
Josh said the scene in movie will portray two American prisoners of war being moved from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp to Tokyo.
“The prisoner of war camp was on one side if the bridge and Tokyo was on the other, so the bridge was meant to be on the approach into Tokyo,” he said.
The process actually began on Monday the day before the filming with Josh taking some of the crew out on the water to get GPS marks from the where the scaffold platform would be directed.
Leading the crew was accomplished cinematographer Brad Shield, who was worked on such films as the Avengers, The Wolverine and Secretariat to mention just a few.
The director on set Josh Watkins was equally qualified having worked on the Hobbit movies and numerous television productions.
Tuesday was meant to be main day of filming and work began at dawn with the filming platform out on the water being constructed, while the Bentley, tuck and extras were prepared for action.
Josh said he and the computer-generated imagery or CGI cameraman spent literally hours under the bridge filming every nut and bolt.
Apparently the bridge will be made to look twice as long in post-production, but other that the crew needed to do very little other than take down a couple of modern signs.
After working from dawn to dusk, it was back at it on Wednesday morning for more unscheduled filming to try and get the bridge bathed in sunlight.
“They really wanted the sun, especially as the car was black,” he said.
The filming was a bit of boost to the Bermagui economy as all the film crew and support stayed in two motels in the town and also made use of local services including the tackle shop staff and boats.
Josh said the crew was very impressed with area and its scenery.
“They loved and understood why people like us live down here,” he said.
Matt Carroll from Screen NSW told ABC Southeast the bridge was selected because of its resemblance to bridges in Japan during World War II where the film is set.
While the film is being shot in Queensland, the Wallaga bridge was chosen because of its distinctive hump in the middle was actually identified in the “Real Scout” database used by movie producers.
The historic, wooden Wallaga Lake bridge is located halfway between Bermagui and Narooma and marking the boundary between the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla shires.
The bridge dates back to 1894 and was built to give farmers access to the Bermagui wharf enabling them to ship their produce to Sydney.
Filming on the bridge required the approval of the Bega Valley Shire Council, and the application lodged by Universal Studios was treated as “urgent business” at council’s January 22 meeting.
Council was supportive of the project and councillor Tony Allen said it was “a wonderful thing for the area”.
While there have been no Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt sightings in the Narooma Bermagui district, the Sydney Morning Herald reported back in January that she had been making the most of some more holiday time and sunshine in Sydney.
The whole family spent Christmas in Queensland together, but the holidays are coming to an end with Brad Pitt flying to Britain with eldest son Maddox, 12, to continue work on his latest war film Fury.
The clan has been enjoying plenty of family outings while in Australia. They chartered super-yacht Ghost II in Sydney for a day and visited Taronga Zoo and also went to the movies.
The Jolie-Pitt family had been in Australia since September, when Angelina began work on her World War II film.
She scouted for locations in Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Tamworth. After filming in a number of Sydney locations before Christmas, production had started in Queensland with a clutch of international and local stars joining her on the set.