December 11-12, 2021
The sequel to this year’s Occupation is shaping up to be one the biggest Australian sci-fi action films of all time. Only four weeks into production and Occupation: Rainfall has already filmed scenes with US actor Ken Jeong and secured a major cinematic release overseas via Lionsgate. On top that, Supa-Star Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals) was recently added to the cast, just in time for an exclusive world first sneak peek trailer and Q&A at Supanova Brisbane.
“[Writer, director and executive producer Luke Sparke] approached me about the first film, which I couldn’t do because of a timetable conflict,” Gillies told Supanova TV host Quinny in Brisbane.
“I guess they had some kind of 60-year-old war veteran antagonist who’s central to [Occupation: Rainfall] and thought I’d be good for that because apparently, I look like an old dude,” he joked.
“I look like an old shirt, like Al Pacino’s back.”
Later the same day, Gillies appeared at the Occupation: Rainfall panel, alongside Sparke, Zac Garred (General Hospital, Occupation) and Kat Risteska (Occupation, Chasing Comets).
“It’s probably going to be the biggest Australian action sci-fi film that’s been made ever. It’s massive,” Sparke said in the FilmInk Features Theatre.
“It picks up two years after the events of the first film, but don’t worry, you don’t have to see the first film to really understand what’s going on. The [alien] war continues and survivors in Australia fight back.”
They’re seriously upping the ante for Rainfall.
“We have seven times the visual Effects of the first movie; there are probably over 1,500 – 2,000 visual effects shots in this movie, where the first movie had maybe 400 or so,” Sparke revealed.
“[Occupation: Rainfall] will have major visual effects. The effects houses that did Thor: Ragnarok, Star Wars and Blade Runner have come on-board around the world to do the effects in the movie so it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Fans in attendance were treated to an exclusive trailer, which promises massive things for the film. While Gillies didn’t make an appearance – his scenes scheduled to be filmed as of the Monday after Supanova Brisbane – he did give some insight into his character, Commander Charles Hayes, and what drew him to the role.
“Selfishly, I just wanted a payday,” he joked. “No, selfishly, I like the idea of playing someone who has been a POW and someone who had lost everything and what that would look like.
“He was written for someone very different, for a 60-year-old, cigar-chomping actor, but I was fascinated by the idea of someone who could endure that. If there were nothing else to live for but the fight, what would that look like? I thought doing that performance might answer that questions.”
Sparke elaborated: “He’s one of the last military leaders left in Australia and it was one of the most fun characters to write for me. I really enjoy that character and his arc in the movie, so I’m very excited to get onto our huge sets and do that with you.”
It’s the second of three films, with Occupation having a local focus, Occupation: Rainfall having a national focus and the untitled third film having an international outlook.
Gillies compared working on an international project to something more local: “It’s a nightmare, these people are intolerable,” he joked.
“No, it’s been really sweet, actually. Even just that is refreshing, to be able to joke like that. I can’t do that everywhere I go and I love that Australians and Kiwis have that ability; everything’s up for smashing with humour and I love that. There’s also that fierce independent spirit.”
Occupation: Rainfall is expected to be released late 2019.
Lead image: Supanova Brisbane’s Occupation: Rainfall panel. Pic by Ewan Ly