Note: If by some ungodly chance you are a Sanctum virgin, then I suggest you check out my exclusive with director Alister Grierson and location manager Chris Strewe in November here.
Sanctum is set underwater and tells the story of a cave-diving team, made up of a billionaire and a father and son, who become trapped during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world. It is based on the real-life experience of the film’s producer and writer Andrew Wight, who was trapped underwater with 14 other Aussies for around 30 hours when the entrance to a cave they were exploring under the Nullarbor's Pannikin Plains collapsed during a freak storm. The drama happened in 1988 and Wight made a documentary about the ordeal before managing to convince his mate `Jim’ to make a movie. Wight and Cameron have a close working relationship and have collaborated on a number of projects including Ghosts of the Abyss.
The ball got rolling after Cameron saw footage of Gold Coast director Alister Grierson’s low-budget war drama Kokoda and pursued him for the role of director. Grierson’s no fool and jumped at the opportunity to direct under the guidance of one of Hollywood’s most successful directors ever.
Grierson won the prestigious Tropfest short film festival five years ago and is using many of the same crew members on Sanctum as he did for his short film.
The stars of the film are Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd (above) as the billionaire underwriting the diving expedition, the perpetual villain Richard Roxburgh as `the dad' character and up and comer Rhys Wakefield (below) as his teenage son. The Home & Away alumni was very impressive in The Black Balloon and this is likely to be Wakefield’s breakthrough into mainstream Hollywood. The three characters
The rest of the small cast is made of Aussies too, including the perpetual villain Richard Roxburgh, although his role is unknown.
A sneaky source who works at the accommodation where Gruffudd is staying in Broadbeach tells me he has been on the Gold Coast since late December with his wife Alice Evans and their baby Ella (who is ridiculously cute by the way).
Shooting began at Warner Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast in November, with opening exterior shots filmed at properties in Bonogin and Jacob's Well. Set in Papua New Guinea, majority of the filming is being conducted in Sound Stages 2 and 8, with crews filming underwater scenes in the studio's $2.1 million water tank.
Grierson says filming should wrap towards the end of March and then post-production work will begin. Sanctum is tagged with a 2010 release date but could be pushed back to early 2011.
I hope that catches you up on everything Sanctum-related. It’s set to be the first underwater 3D fiction-film which, although is a very specific category, is sure to be incredible given the people behind the project.