Eric Bana Delays Release of ‘The Dry 2,’ Melbourne Festival Tweaks Presentations as Australia Adjusts to SAG-AFTRA Strike

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The scheduled Aug. 24 release of the Eric Bana-starring Australian thriller film “Force of Nature: The Dry 2” has been indefinitely postponed, due to the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike.

The strike is also forcing adjustments at the Melbourne International Film Festival, which starts in early August.

“It is with some regret, but a large amount of conviction that we have decided to postpone the release of ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’,” said Bana, who both stars and produces through his Pick Up Truck Pictures.

“Force of Nature: The Dry 2” is based on the bestselling novel by Jane Harper with Bana reprising his character, Aaron Falk, as a follow-on to the 2021 hit. Robert Connolly returns to direct the movie. Production is by Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky of Made Up Stories, alongside Bana and Connolly through his Arenamedia.

“I’m incredibly proud of this much anticipated Australian film and want to be able to do it justice by promoting it thoroughly. Due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, of which I am a long-standing member, it is not possible to do that at this time. Just as we did with ‘The Dry,’ our plan is to be face-to-face with the cinema going public, through event screenings, Q&As, and press appearances at the time of release. I stand in support of the changes that SAG-AFTRA are fighting for on behalf of all working actors,” said Bana.

Although Australia is an English-speaking country with large production, post-production and VFX industries and federal and state-level financial incentives structured to attract overseas film and TV productions, the twin Hollywood strikes have significant, but numerically-limited, impact on projects in Australia.

Australian actors’ union, Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance said: “a small number of productions currently underway in Australia may be impacted by the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.”

Production of the “Mortal Kombat 2” film and Peacock’s “Apples Never Fall” series have halted. And the big-budget “Metropolis” series was abandoned before the SAG-AFTRA strike.

But it is understood that Prime Video’s female-led Australian adaptation of “The Office” is continuing.

“For Australian actors and crew engaged on Australian screen productions with no imported U.S. performers/SAG-AFTRA members, there will be no change and your work will continue as normal,” the MEAA told its members.

“For Australian actors and crew engaged on offshore screen productions with imported U.S. performers/SAG-AFTRA members in lead roles and engaged on SAG contracts, this production may be affected and you may be stood down without pay,” it said.

“However, where SAG-AFTRA members have been engaged on Australian productions or on standard MEAA Equity – SPA Agreements (such as the AFFCA or ATPA), then it is likely that filming can continue as normal.

The Melbourne festival, scheduled to operate Aug. 3-20, told Variety, that it is assessing “impact guest-by-guest in terms of attendances.” Cancelations may be few as most of its foreign guests are likely to be film directors, rather than actors.

Nevertheless some planned attendances have been impacted. Mark Duplass, whose “Biosphere” will play at the festival, is an example and MIFF organizers have informed ticketholders to the film’s talk session.

Still others have been cleared with the SAG by the attending guest. Saul Williams has been given a waiver to continue in his co-jury president role for MIFF’s Bright Horizons competition section. Molly Manning Walker, director of the Melbourne-selected Cannes hit “How to Have Sex” has stated that her planned attendance will continue.

Eric Bana Delays Release of ‘The Dry 2,’ Melbourne Festival Tweaks Presentations as Australia Adjusts to SAG-AFTRA Strike

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