Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (2024)

EXCLUSIVE:Stephan Elliott, who directed the celebrated cult classicThe Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,tells this column that a sequel “is happening” and that the original movie’s stars Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weavingare back “on board” 30 years after the film’s initial release.

“I’m not repeating myself, we’ll start the new film in Australia, but by God, we’re going on one helluva journey,” Elliott reveals.

“The originalcast is on board, I’ve got a script that everybody likes, we’re still working out deals. … It’s happening,” he adds with brio.

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Since it played a midnight screening in Un Certain Regard at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, Priscilla has become a byword for glittering, extravagantexcess. That was a party night to remember; except I was there and all Icanremember is getting back to my hotel at 6 a.m.

The film, about a transsexual and two drag queens (played by Stamp, Pearce and Weaving, respectively) who set off from Sydney in an old-school bus the trio dubbed Priscilla to perform to disco golden oldies and ABBA hits in the almost treeless, scorching desert plains of southern Australia while sheathed in glamorous frocks and bejeweled headgear atop their wigs, has enjoyed a mammoth crossover audience that has increased in the intervening years as new generations have discovered the movie.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (3)

With the mainstream success of TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s probably difficultfor some to comprehend how revolutionary it seemed three decades ago for drag artistry to feature in a movie that wasn’t just being marketed to a niche LGBTQ audience. Elliott and his associates saw a way of enticing “the straight audience as well.”

Elliott says that for years he was resistant to making a follow-up film. ”I just was not sure, I just didn’t want to repeat myself,” he stressed.

“I thought, what am I going to do? Stick them on a cruise ship, stick them on a train? You name it, over the years I’ve been pitched Priscilla 2 in spades.”

Five years ago he began toying around with the idea of a sequel, but it took the death of his parents — his father and his mother diedwithin two years of each other — plus the pandemic to focus his mind.

Their passing hit Elliott hard, but his fond memories of them spurred his creativity. “I was writing and configuring after dad died in early 2020,” he says. ”Then mum died in early 2023. It was a tough one, and so I finally realized that I do have something to write about.”

The new story brings back Bernadette, Stamp’s character; Adam/Felicia, the roles played by Pearce; and Tick/Mitzi, the parts assumed by Weaving.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (4)

Tick’s character in the 1994 film had a 7-year-old son. “Well, he’s grown up now,” says Elliott. “Therefore I’ve written in a bunch of new characters to support a new generation.”

He says the new movie will feature “old disco classics, but we’ll bemoving into contemporary as well.”

Elliott mentions the newPriscilla the Party!show that recently opened in the HERE at the Outernet in the heart of the West End. Ithas a 4 a.m. liquor license,“so what we’ve done now is just add alcohol.”

He notes that “the crowd goes ballistic over Lady Gaga’s“Born This Way,” so Gaga numbers are a possibility for the new movie. “We’ve got to move with the times,” he adds.

PolyGram backed and propelled the original film and Gramercy distributed it; both entities have folded. MGM holds some rights, as do some other enterprises including the Australian Film Finance Corporation and the New South Wales Film & Television Office.Al Clark was the picture’s producer and Rebel Penford-Russell was an executive producer. “The bottom line is that I’ve just had everybody to the table and we’re hammering out the deal now just so everybody’s happy,” Elliott says.

Stamp’s now 85, and Elliott says he wants to get a wriggle on and “get it happening, get it shooting this year. Actually, as soon as possible.”

For several years, the 1976 Japanese-made bus, called Priscilla for the movie and which was rented during the filming in 1993, disappeared. It surfaced at a property in New South Wales but was damaged by wildfire and floods. However, the History Trust of South Australia took possession of it a year ago and launched a fundraising effort to restore it.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (5)

“I don’t know how it survived but we have a plan,” says Elliott. “Don’t worry, the bus will feature.”

Also, says Elliott, about a year ago he and his colleagues began the task of remastering for the first time and remixing the print for 30th anniversary screenings in theaters around this summer’s Pride week.

“It’s the 30th anniversary, the bus has been found, Priscilla the Party!is about to roll out globally and it’s time forPriscilla’sfinal adventure to get made,” he says.

He will serve as director, writer and producer, though he intends to partner with another producer.

Elliott spoke with me after I reached him at his home in Portugal. Although he confirmed the sequel, he says an official announcement will be made soon once various negotiations are completed.

He would love to welcome back original creatives, “but it has to do with their availability.”

The Oscar-winningPriscillacostumiers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner also collaborated with Elliott onPriscilla the Party!

Julian Glover & Susan Hampshire Ready For Their Close-Up With‘Maurice’s Jubilee’

On the topic ofactors of a certain age wanting to get on with projects, there’s also the case of Julian Glover (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Game of Thrones) now 89, and86-year-old Susan Hampshire (The Forsyte Saga, Vanity Fair) who are keen to get cameras rolling as soon as possible on a movie calledMaurice’s Jubilee.

It’s based on an award-winning play by Nichola McAuliffe about a master jeweler who meets the young Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace when he goes to collect the Crown Jewelsthe night before the coronation in 1953. They have a cup of tea and make a promise to meet again for another cuppa on the eve of her majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

McAuliffe has adapted her story for the screen andit has been developed as a feature by director Nicholas Connor. The aim is to shoot both on-location and in a virtual production studio.

Hampshire will play Helena, Maurice’s wife.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (6)

The movie spans several decades, so clearly younger actors will be cast to play Maurice and Helena in earlier years. “But we need to get going,” says McAuliffe. “Julian and Susan aren’t getting any younger and are keen to get in front of the cameras,” she adds, noting that the production is seeking funding to get the cameras rolling.

Love’s Labour’s Not Lost On‘Bridgerton’sLuke Thompson

Bridgertonstar Luke Thompson reveals an appetite for for high jinks and tomfoolery as Berowne, the King of Navarre’s chief attendant and fellow scholar who, along with two fellow young lords, promises to forswear women for three years.

This is Shakespeare’s early romantic comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Thompson provides just the right comic touch to pull it off. He and his fellow castmates seem very much at home in director Emily Burns’ version, which she places in a swanky spa called Navarre nestled on a South Pacific island.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (7)

It’s the perfect curtain raiser for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new co-artistic directors Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey, who opened Burns’ production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on Thursday night.

The choice of play was smart. For starters it made sense to open with a Shakespeare. Would have been a bit daft to present a Noel Coward. And that it’s one of the Bard’s lighter works rather then one of his tragedies is a good thing. There’s time enough in future seasons for heavies like Learand Macbeth.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (8)

Thompson also shows off his romantic chopsto good effect in Season 3 ofBridgerton.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’ Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (9)

Fellow actors in Love’s Labour’s Lost include Abiola Owokoniran, Eric Stroud, Brandon Bassir, Jack Bardot, Melanie-Joyce Bermudez, Ivanna Kimbook, Amy Griffiths, Sarita Gabon, Jordan Metcalfe, Jeffrey Chekai, Tony Gardner, Kok-Hwa -Lie, Nathan Foad, Marianella Phillips, Jeffrey Chekai, Shailan Gohil, Tika Mu’Tamir and Jamie Tyler.

Breaking Baz: ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’  Movie Sequel Readying To Shoot With Original Stars; ‘Maurice’s Jubilee’ Update; Love’s Labour Not Lost On ‘Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (2024)

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