International Celebrities in Australia: Why Are So Many Hollywood Stars In Aus Right Now?

An investigation into who’s here (and why).

By Grace Back

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of famous faces in Australia right now. Like, a lot of famous faces.

Across America, many states are still under lockdown with restrictions remaining in place for restaurants, shopping centres, and other businesses, as well as a strict, outdoor-only limits on households and gatherings that include weddings and funerals.

That also means that for many of our favourite American actresses and actors, working and creating upcoming film and television projects is no easy feat, especially when attempting to create larger productions that require hundreds of cast and crew.

Enter: our idyllic shores.

Thanks to Australia’s handling of the pandemic, coupled with the government’s $400 million Location Incentive, designed to encourage film and television production locally, many have chosen to relocate here.

Below, we’re exploring exactly who and why some of our favourite faces are among us.

The High School Musical alum has actually been in Australia for quite some time now, hiding out in Byron Bay before paparazzi discovered his presence. Efron even met his girlfriend, Vanessa Valladares, a 25-year-old Australian model, while in the New South Wales coastal town.

In January 2021, People got an update from a source about how things were going between the new couple. “They are not engaged but seem very happy,” the source said, adding that Efron really wants to “make a life for himself” in Australia. “He keeps looking at properties,” the source added.

His brother, Dylan, has since joined him Down Under, and the pair are currently filming the second season of Zac’s Netflix show Down to Earth with Zac Efron, where the actor travels around the world with wellness expert Darin Olien to find healthy, sustainable ways to live.

From what we can tell, Zac has no plans of moving anytime soon.

Portman, alongside her husband Benjamin Millepied, and their two children, have been living in Sydney since November 2020, while the actress films Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder, alongside Chris Hemsworth.

On March 17, Portman posted a stunning gallery of images while exploring the Blue Mountains.

And most recently, the actress was spotted with Russell Crowe (and other Hollywood stars) attending a live game of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, decked out in the team’s merch, too.
After being spotted alongside Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth in Sydney, many fans were left wondering what Idris Elba was doing on our shores.
According to Deadline, the actor is here to film an upcoming epic fantasy romance, Three Thousand Years of Longing, co-starring alongside Tilda Swinton.

Funnily, Elba joined Australian band Lime Cordiale on stage at one of their gigs—and a fan managed to capture the whole thing on video.

Starring alongside Elba in Three Thousand Years of Longing, Swinton has also been spotted in Australia.
According to IMDb, the film is about a “lonely and bitter British woman” who encounters a genie during a trip to Istanbul.
While yes, Kidman is Australian, and so too is her husband Keith Urban, rarely does the actress get to film one of her major projects on home turf.
The actress, alongside some other familiar faces, is currently in Byron Bay filming a new Liane Moriarty adaptation, Nine Perfect Strangers.

She’s been posting some pictures from the stunning location, writing: “Hinterland Magic”

McCarthy is also here filming Nine Perfect Strangers alongside Kidman, and even appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss her recent stay in Byron Bay,

“Something bit me and 92 per cent of my body blew up in a way that I didn’t know was possible,” she told the host. “I carry an EpiPen now because nobody knows [what it was]… it could be anything!”

Joining Kidman and McCarthy for Nine Perfect Strangers, Luke Evans touched down in Australia (and happily opened up about quarantine in a Sydney hotel).

Since then he’s been getting up to a lot of travelling since filming began, including exploring the Blue Mountains, Byron Bay and even Bondi Beach.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher

Australian actress Isla Fisher has returned home alongside husband and Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen, with reports the couple relocated here last year to escape ‘Trump’s America’, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The pair and their two children have been keeping a relatively low profile, although they were spotted with Portman, Crowe and others for the South Sydney Rabbitohs game on March 27.

Sweetly, the couple met in Sydney in 2002.

Previously, Fisher has opened up about her desire to settle down in Australia. “I have this secret fantasy of slowing down, moving to Byron Bay, getting off the grid and sitting on the sand with a Vegemite sandwich,” she told marie claire in 2018.
The actor, along with his wife and three children, touched down in Australia in January 2021, ahead of his upcoming role in Thor: Love and Thunder.

“I’m so excited that my family and I will be able to call Australia home for the next few months,” the actor said in a statement. “Australian film crews are world-renowned for their professionalism and are a joy to work with so the 14 days of quarantine will be well worth it. Australia definitely is the lucky country, and I can’t wait to show my family Australia’s down to earth people, breathtaking scenery and diverse culture.”

The Normal People actor has been spotted around Sydney of late (with one Twitter user even claiming to have spotted Mescal on Tinder).
The Irish-born actor is here to film the upcoming movie adaptation of opera Carmen in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and will play the male lead role, Aidan.

Taken actor Liam Neeson was reportedly in Melbourne shooting his upcoming film, Blacklight, written and directed by Ozark co-creator Mark Williams.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the film is the first to use the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as a studio.

Grandmaster actor Jeff Goldblum was recently sighted with fellow Thor: Ragnarok star Chris Hemsworth and director Taika Waiti in Australia, urging many fans to ask if he will be making an appearance in the Thor film currently in production in Sydney.

He’s remained pretty tight-lipped on the potential possibility of The Grandmaster’s return, so only time will tell.

Julia Roberts, Ed Sheeran & Sean Penn

Julia Roberts has recently touched down in Australia, and according to SMH is riding out her 14-day quarantine period with none other than Ed Sheeran.

The celebs, which according to the publication included Roberts, Sheeran, his wife Cherry, their newborn daughter, among a few others, were granted an exemption from standard hotel quarantine and are currently living in a rented out Sweven Estate on the Hawkesbury River.

The Pretty Woman star is in town to film the political thriller Gaslit with Sean Penn.

Sheeran on the other hand was here to perform a musical tribute at promoter Michael Gudinski’s memorial service.

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