Russell Crowe Directing Second Feature ���Poker Face��� Amid Strict Sydney Lockdown

By Monique Friedlander For Daily Mail Australia

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Russell Crowe began shooting his new thriller Poker Face at a sprawling mansion on the NSW South Coast last week.

But a local politician has refused to roll out the red carpet.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward slammed Russel's star-studded production on Wednesday, accusing the Hollywood star of 'mocking public health orders' by continuing with filming during the state's Covid crisis.  

'A total mockery': Crowe (pictured) was criticised by Kiama MP Gareth Ward on Wednesday for continuing to film his thriller Poker Face in rural NSW despite the state's Covid crisis Pictured: Kiama MP Gareth Ward

'Mockery': Russell Crowe (left) was criticised by Kiama MP Gareth Ward (right) on Wednesday for continuing to film his thriller Poker Face in rural NSW despite the state's Covid crisis

'This makes a total mockery of the Public Health Orders. People can't see family and friends, funerals limited to 10, no cases in Shellharbour but still locked down, but apparently "A-listers" producing movies is essential?' Mr Ward ranted on Twitter. 

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While Mr Ward's tweet may have been well-intentioned, Russell's production does in fact comply with health orders.  

The cast and crew are filming in the Kiama and Berry region, where there are no lockdown restrictions that would prevent production from going ahead.   

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'"A-listers" producing movies is essential?' Mr Ward slammed Russel's production on Twitter, accusing the Hollywood star of 'mocking public health orders' by continuing with filming 

Lockdown: The movie was scheduled to wrap in less than a week, but filming has been halted for the time being after the cast and crew were instructed to isolate

By the books: While Mr Ward's tweet may have been well-intentioned, Russell's production does in fact comply with health orders

Shellharbour, a city located 16km from Russell's film set, is in lockdown, however.

Russell's production is also operating under strict Covid-19 protocols, and will inject millions of dollars into the local economy through tourism, employment and box-office sales.   

The New Zealand-born Australian actor, who is directing and starring in the psychological thriller, was seen on set at a beachside mansion in Kiama on Tuesday.

On location: The cast and crew are filming in the Kiama and Berry region, where there are no lockdown restrictions that would prevent production from going ahead

On location: The cast and crew are filming in the Kiama and Berry region, where there are no lockdown restrictions that would prevent production from going ahead

Earlier this week, Russell shared a photo from the set on Twitter, and captioned it: 'Shooting in Kiama. What a beautiful place.'  

It was reported at the end of last month that Russell had been upgraded to director of the film. 

He was previously listed as an actor on IMBD, but will now take over from Gary Fleder as director.

Stunning: Earlier this week, Russell shared a photo from the set on Twitter, and captioned it: 'Shooting in Kiama. What a beautiful place'

Stunning: Earlier this week, Russell shared a photo from the set on Twitter, and captioned it: 'Shooting in Kiama. What a beautiful place' 

It's believed the change was made due to Australia's coronavirus restrictions, which would make it difficult for American Fleder to travel Down Under.

Poker Face will also film on location in Sydney's Fox Studios under strict Covid-safe guidelines.  

Russel, who is close friends with Chris Hemsworth, has kept his casting choices close to home, adding Chris' wife Elsa Pataky and his younger brother Liam Hemsworth to the film's cast. 

Pals: Russell has reportedly added Liam Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky (left, with husband Chris) to the cast of the thriller

Pals: Russell has reportedly added Liam Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky (left, with husband Chris) to the cast of the thriller

According to Confidential, 'both the youngest Hemsworth and Pataky have quietly been added to the cast of the flick with Crowe.'

Russell has already has picked out several iconic locations for the film's set pieces, according to The Daily Telegraph.

At the time, the publication reported that one of the movie's sequences will feature a high-speed car chase inside the Harbour Tunnel.  

Cast: According to Confidential, 'both the youngest Hemsworth and Pataky have quietly been added to the cast of the flick with Crowe.' Liam Hemsworth is pictured

Cast: According to Confidential, 'both the youngest Hemsworth and Pataky have quietly been added to the cast of the flick with Crowe.' Liam Hemsworth is pictured 

Glorious: Among the locations being showcased in the film will be the $140 million penthouse atop James Packer's Crown Residences (left)

Also being showcased in the film will be the $140 million penthouse atop James Packer's Crown Residences and 'a sprawling Point Piper mansion overlooking Sydney Harbour'.

The rest of the film will likely be shot at Moore Park's Fox Studios.

While the movie was originally set in Miami, Florida, Crowe has reportedly demanded the film be filmed and set in Sydney. 

Set piece: One of the movie's sequences will feature a high speed car chase inside the Harbour Tunnel (pictured)

Set piece: One of the movie's sequences will feature a high speed car chase inside the Harbour Tunnel (pictured)

The New Zealand born star wants 'to show people just how stunning and world-class Sydney is,' according to the newspaper's sources.  

According to Deadline, Poker Face tells the tale of a tech billionaire called Jake (played by Russell) who gathers his childhood friends to his estate for what turns into a high stakes game of poker.  

'Those friends have a love hate relationship with the host, a master game-player/planner, and he has concocted an elaborate scheme designed to bring a certain justice to all of them,' Deadline reports.  

Point Piper: 'A sprawling Point Piper mansion overlooking Sydney Harbour' will also feature

Point Piper: 'A sprawling Point Piper mansion overlooking Sydney Harbour' will also feature

'However, Jake finds himself re-thinking his strategy when his mansion is overtaken by a dangerous home invader whose previous jobs have all ended in murder and arson.'

Joining Crowe in the cast will be Wu-Tang Clan frontman RZA, while his fellow Oscar winner Natalie Portman is 'circling a role'. 

Russell recently worked with Portman while filming a small part in her film Thor: Love and Thunder. 

Poker Face will mark the first time Crowe has stepped behind the camera since his 2014 directorial debut The Water Diviner.  

Big names: Joining Crowe in the cast will be Wu-Tang Clan frontman RZA, while his fellow Oscar winner Natalie Portman (pictured in 2019) is 'circling a role'

Big names: Joining Crowe in the cast will be Wu-Tang Clan frontman RZA, while his fellow Oscar winner Natalie Portman (pictured in 2019) is 'circling a role'

Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-9885317/Russell-Crowe-criticised-filming-thriller-Poker-Face-rural-NSW-amid-Covid-crisis.html

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