After playing host to 2013’s cricketing comedy, Backyard Ashes, the bustling NSW town of Wagga Wagga once again provides the backdrop for an Aussie sports flick. This time, there are not one but two sports in question, as Chasing Comets sets up a cinematic clash of the titans between Aussie Rules and rugby league. The film is the brainchild of Jason Stevens, a retired NRL player as famous for his Christian beliefs and abstinence from pre-marital sex as he was for his hard-hitting style and on-field wedgie distribution.
Though no stranger to film and television – he appears regularly as a presenter on Channel 7’s Sydney Presenter; he hosted the variety show, Big J’s Place, on 7 Two; and made The Disposable Ones, a doco about the impoverished children of Columbia – Chasing Comets will mark Stevens’ big screen feature debut. As producer, Stevens has made an impressive bow, wrangling the likes of Isabel Lucas, Dan Ewing, Rhys Muldoon, Stan Walker, Wayne Blair, George Houvardas, Peter Phelps, Kat Hoyos, Gary Eck, Justin Melvey and Gemma Pranita for the cast, and nabbing Footy Show favourite, Beau Ryan, and DJ and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here alum, Havana Brown, for their movie debuts.
As a writer, however, Stevens has opted to keep it close to home. “They say; write what you know, so I drew on some of the experiences I had while playing and from some of the colourful characters I met,” the former prop forward told The Leader.
Chasing Comets will be directed by actor/filmmaker, Jason Perini (recently seen being ridiculed and taunted by an anthropomorphic loaf of bread in an ad for Aldi), who wrote and directed the short film, The New Empress, which was produced by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, and stars Maggie Gyllenhaal. Perini is in good company with Jason Stevens, who was always well known for his showbiz aspirations (“When I was in Year 12, they asked us to describe what our dream job was,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Rugby league was the furthest thing on my mind. I wanted to co-host Tonight Live with Steve Vizard”) even while up-ending his opponents on the footy field.
For more on Chasing Comets, head to the film’s Facebook page.