Russell Crowe is managing to direct a feature film in Sydney, Australia as the city continues on its most restrictive lockdown since the pandemic began.
The film is Poker Face, a thriller Crowe is directing and co-starring in alongside a cast that includes Liam Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky and Wu-Tang Clan frontman RZA. The film was originally to be directed by Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury, Don’t Say a Word), who, according to Daily Mail, was unable to make it to Australia due to the restrictions – thus allowing Crowe take the helm.
As reported by Variety, the plot is set in the world of high stakes poker, with Crowe playing a tech billionaire who finds himself caught up a risky card game. Pataky is on board as a glamorous croupier; still no word on who Hemsworth and RZA are playing.
The screenplay, penned by Stephen M. Coates, originally had its story set in the city of Miami, Florida, but was reportedly changed to Sydney thanks to a push by Crowe. The New Zealand-born, Aus-raised Oscar winner is said to have wanted to showcase Sydney’s landmarks. Interestingly, the film will also feature a car chase that takes place on Sydney streets – not something you see too often in big-name films.
Poker Face, Crowe’s second film as director following 2014 period drama The Water Diviner, is now filming around Sydney and at Fox Studios with strict COVID-safe Guidelines.
On the acting front, Crowe’s upcoming credits include Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder (also starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and more), drama Rothko (with Aisling Franciosi and Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and horror-thriller The Georgetown Project (with Ryan Simpkins, Chloe Bailey and Sam Worthington).