(Photo: James Wiltshire/Young) 14/1/18. Albury. Regent Cinema. World Premier of The BBQ. Shane Jacobson. .Julia Zemiro and Manu Fieldel didn’t share any scenes when new movie The BBQ started filming, but from day one the pair shared a special connection.
Despite having an extensive acting background, the longtime host of Rockwiz and Home Delivery had never appeared in a feature film.
The same went for Fieldel, who endeared himself to ns hosting My Kitchen Rules.
The BBQ – which stars Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski and Nicholas Hammond and had its world premiere at Albury’s Regent Cinemas on Sunday – was his first foray into acting.
The one thing the two do share though, is a childhood in France.
So on the first day of shooting, Zemiro sought out her European contemporary.
“The first day I met Manu, we didn’t actually do any scenes together but I found him and in French I said: ‘Are you nervous, because I am,’ and he said he was too,” she said.
“So we had this little conversation where no one could understand us, except maybe [Hammond] if he was around. He speaks French as well.”
Once the cameras started rolling though, the pair found themselves sinking into their roles.
The comedy follows Darren “Dazza” Cook (Jacobson), whose BBQ passion leads him to the competitive international arena,
For Fieldel, playing a chef in the film, more than half of which was shot on location in the Albury-Wodoga area, wasn’t too far from his comfort zone.
But playing antagonistic, leather-clad cook Andre Montblanc, a character he described as “a proper wanker”, was definitely a departure from the friendly face audiences have come to expect.
“I didn’t like the role at the beginning, but [director] Stephen Amis promised me it would a great role because it would be so different to who I usually am,” he said. “At the end of the day, I enjoyed the character.
“Stephen told me to go home and write down who I thought Andre was, from the day he was a kid until now, who were his parents, where did he come from.
“In a way, I built the character myself and it was a great exercise because as soon as I’d walk on set, I was Andre.”
Despite positive test screenings, director Amis admitted he was “a little toey” at the premiere.
It was a little over a year ago that he was last in the area, meeting council officials and others before shooting was to start in Albury-Wodonga for a little over three weeks.
“We’ve tested the film; it’s tested wonderfully,” he said. “It’s hard to believe I was across the road from the hotel we’re staying in now a year ago, chatting to the council trying to get this all set up.”
A long-standing border friendship, coupled with significant local investment, led to more than half of the film being shot in Albury, Wodonga, Jindera, Mitta and around the Hume Weir.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the support the cities have given us,” Amis said.
“From extra work to businesses supporting getting behind it, it’s been awe-inspiring.”
More than 1000 people attended the first screening of the film on Sunday. It will be released nationally on February 22.