“I had written a script in 2015 when overseas called Malibu Crush, originally it was a romantic comedy about two hopeless best friends living in New Jersey who take advantage of a loophole within Harvard University and fly out to Malibu to declare their love to an unsuspecting former girlfriend living there who’s getting married. The script ended up with a lit agent at CAA and came close to being made, but after some close calls it didn’t end up happening and I ended up just sitting on the script.”
That’s James Pratt, who, apart from writing and directing Malibu Crush, will also star.
“In late 2019, I was fortunate to be working with a great friend and talented actor Dan Musial,” Pratt continues. “He and I started talking about using our networks both here in Australia and in Hollywood to shoot an indie film, something we could show off Sydney at its best and give Hollywood a chance to see Australian comedy blend with a USA script. I ended up rewriting Malibu Crush to be set and based around Sydney but keeping the Malibu storyline.”
A buddy comedy pitched as ‘Shallow Hal meets The Hangover‘, Malibu Crush is produced by co-star Musial and US-based Trisanne Marin, with John L. Simpson executive producing.
“Australians that come LA have a great reputation,” says Marin. “If you ask Hollywood how they would describe Aussies, it’s usually, talented, hard-working and all about the work rather than the celebrity. This is the first Australian production I have been involved in and I’m excited to be a producer; it’s a great script and from a distribution side it reads well in showcasing Australia and has a very clear audience.”
Apart from Pratt and Musial, the cast also includes Australians Erin Connor (upcoming Space/Time, Occupation, Beast No More), model/actresses Bella Valentini and Sarah-Louise Collidge, Shaun Anthony Robinson (That’s Not a Knife), former NRL player Kyle Lovett, indie stalwart Damian Nixey, and The Bachelor‘s Brittany Hockley, plus North American actors Scott E. Miller and Jessica Ross.
But, according to Pratt, the biggest star is Bondi Beach.
“It’s a dream to be able to film in Bondi Beach as that’s where I’m from, and it helped with the film’s budget to be able to get locations there free. However, the main reason why we are filming in Bondi Beach is the pace of the script is fast and we needed a visually impactful backdrop to help with the situation comedy scenes, so Bondi Beach was ideal. To be able to film a feature film showcasing Sydney and Bondi Beach with its visually stunning backdrop is really a dream.”