Before Corey Large even landed in Australia to start shooting In Like Flynn, the Victoria native was reminded he had something in common with one of the continent’s most famous filmmakers.
“It took George Miller 15 years to get Mad Max [Fury Road] going — it’s not like it doesn’t happen,” said Large, calling from Australia’s Gold Coast.
Large’s ambitious new adventure inspired by the life of screen legend Errol Flynn finally got rolling Down Under this month, some 15 years after its conception in his hometown. Coincidentally, some of the Fury Road crews are working on it.
In addition to producing, Large co-wrote the biopic’s screenplay with his pal Luke Flynn, Errol’s grandson, along with Victoria screenwriter Steve Albert and Alexander Djamirze.
Large, 41, also plays Rex, a Canadian ex-bootlegger young Errol finds on the streets of Depression-era Sydney. He joins Flynn’s ragtag crew as it sets sail on the Sirocco, a yacht stolen from Chinese opium smugglers.
Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Teen Wolf) is directing the $12-million period adventure, which chronicles the rakish Tasmania-born actor’s exploits as a rogue adventurer before he became a Hollywood superstar.
Australian actor Thomas Coquerel (Table 19) plays the womanizing title character. His co-stars include William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia), Clive Standen (Taken,Vikings), David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings), Isabel Lucas (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Callan Mulvey (Batman vs. Superman) and Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).
As part of his homegrown team, Large also brought two B.C. actors onboard — Lochlyn Munro and David Hennessey.
Large admits getting his film made was more challenging than he anticipated.
When he brought Flynn’s grandson to Victoria in 2003 to appear in Window Theory, which marked Large’s feature debut as a producer, the pair often talked about In Like Flynn.
Flynn played a Los Angeles ladies’ man who gets a wake-up call during a hometown visit in Window Theory. The actor hoped he might play his caddish granddad as a young man, he said at the time.
Flynn, 41, appears as his famous grandfather later in life in the period piece, which charts the adventures of young-and-restless Errol and his pals during an action-packed voyage up the Australian east coast.
While searching for gold after Flynn finds a map in the jungles of New Guinea, the boys run afoul of drunken cowboys, corrupt cops, thugs and Chinese pirates. They even sail into the middle of a hurricane.
“All the stars aligned and everything finally came together with the cast, financing, Australian tax credits and the right time of year,” said Large, adding with a laugh: “After finally having gotten from Window Theory to this, I’ve been involved with 62 movies, and this was supposed to be just my second movie.”
His intervening output includes a mix of personal projects that he wrote, produced and acted in, and partnership ventures. Notable films include The Girl Who Invented Kissing, It Follows, The November Man, Heist, The Life and Death of John Gotti, and some that he shot here, including Kid Cannabis, Poker Night and last year’s The Ninth Passenger. He was also recently involved in Arctic, a survival thriller starring Mads Mikkelsen.
In Like Flynn is Large’s most ambitious personal project, with elaborate sets, exotic locations and producers James M. Vernon (Hacksaw Ridge) and Felipe A. Dieppa (The Girl Who Invented Kissing) on board.
“We shot in the jungle where they did King Kong,” said Large, mimicking cautionary warnings from local crews: “Don’t go over there, mate! There’s deadly snakes over there, and spiders. Don’t go in the water! There’s bull sharks.
“It’s pretty crazy.”
Crews have built sets depicting an opium den, a brothel and downtown Sydney in the 1930s, said Large, taking a break from shooting scenes on a wharf 50 kilometres from Brisbane.
“We’re filming a montage of the lads getting on the boat for the first time,” he said, adding that working with Mulcahy has been “amazing” and a pleasure.
“I love Russell. He’s fast and he really knows what he wants, but he’s fun and he’s calm and has wonderful stories to tell,” he said.
One thing Large admits took him by surprise was how much local media attention the shoot has been getting.
The Daily Telegraph, for instance, has focused on how Aussie star Lucas recently moved back home, purchasing a property in Byron Bay, where former flame Chris Hemsworth lives.
The Daily Mail compared her to Nicole Kidman in an elaborate photo spread.
“It’s been crazy … pandemonium almost,” Large said.