Haven't we all at some point in time fantasized about stepping through a cinema/TV screen and into the world of our favourite movies and television shows? I certainly have!

With its modern, urban setting and stunning harbour, it is easy to see why Sydney leads the way as an ideal and versatile shooting destination. Movies shot here have been set in New York (Godzilla: Final Wars, Kangaroo Jack), Chicago (The Matrix and sequels), London (Birthday Girl), Seville (Mission Impossible 2), Bombay (Holy Smoke), Darwin (Australia), Myanmar (Stealth), Mars (Red Planet) and the fictitious city of Metropolis (Superman Returns, Babe: Pig in the City).

Whether popular landmarks or off the beaten track locations that are often hard to find, you can now explore Sydney in a fun and unique way with the SYDNEY ON SCREEN walking guides. Catering to Sydneysiders as much as visitors, the guides have something to offer everyone, from history, architecture and movie buffs to nature lovers.

See where productions such as Superman Returns, The Matrix and sequels, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Candy, Mission Impossible 2, Mao's Last Dancer, Babe: Pig in the City, Kangaroo Jack, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Muriel's Wedding, The Bold and the Beautiful, Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure and many more were filmed.

Maps and up-to-date information on Sydney's attractions are provided to help you plan your walk. Pick and choose from the suggested itinerary to see as little or as much of the city as you like.

So, come and discover the landscapes and locations that draw filmmakers to magical Sydney, and walk in the footsteps of the stars!


Subscribe to the blog and keep up with all the latest Aussie film and entertainment news. Read about what the stars are up to, who's in town, what movies are currently filming or being promoted. Locate us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sydneyonscreen and "like" our page!

Sydney on Screen walking guides now on sale!

Click on the picture above to see a preview of all four walking guides and on the picture below to see larger stills of Sydney movie and television locations featured in the slideshow!

Copyright © 2011 by Luke Brighty / Unless otherwise specified, all photographs on this blog copyright © 2011 by Luke Brighty

Sydney on Screen guides are now available for purchase at the following outlets:

Travel Concierge, Sydney International Airport, Terminal 1 Arrivals Hall (between gates A/B and C/D), Mascot - Ph: 1300 40 20 60

The Museum of Sydney shop, corner of Bridge & Phillip Streets, Sydney - Ph: (02) 9251 4678

The Justice & Police Museum shop, corner of Albert & Phillip Streets, Sydney - Ph: (02) 9252 1144

The Mint shop, 10 Macquarie Street, Sydney - Ph: (02) 8239 2416

Hyde Park Barracks shop, Queen Square, Sydney - Ph: (02) 8239 2311

Travel Up! (travel counter) c/o Wake Up Sydney Central, 509 Pitt Street, Sydney - Ph (02) 9288 7888

The Shangri-La Hotel (concierge desk), 176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, Sydney - Ph: (02) 9250 6018

The Sebel Pier One (concierge desk), 11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney - Ph: (02) 8298 9901

The Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney (concierge desk), 27 O'Connell Street, Sydney - Ph: (02) 8214 0000

The Sydney Marriott Circular Quay (concierge desk), 30 Pitt Street, Sydney - Ph: (02) 9259 7000

Boobook on Owen, 1/68 Owen Street, Huskisson - Ph: (02) 4441 8585

NSW, interstate and international customers can order copies of Sydney on Screen using PayPal. Contact us at sydneyonscreen@hotmail.com to inquire about cost and shipping fees.

All four volumes of Sydney on Screen are available to download onto your PC or Kindle at:
Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.es and Amazon.it

Cate Blanchett's powerhouse return in Woody Allen's new movie "Blue Jasmine"

Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett at the New York premiere of her new Woody Allen movie Blue Jasmine with actor Michael Stuhlbarg, left, and comedian Andrew Dice Clay, right. Picture: Getty.
The Daily Telegraph reports

When Cate Blanchett was last in New York, in between her nightly performances in the acclaimed touring production of "Uncle Vanya," she would slip uptown, to the East Side, to stealthily research her role in Woody Allen's latest, "Blue Jasmine."

In it, Blanchett plays Jasmine, a socialite in breakdown, a modern Blanche DuBois (a role Blanchett played a few years ago on stage, the "detritus" of which she says stays with her), distraught and destroyed by the betrayal of her Bernie Madoff-like financier husband (Alec Baldwin). On Jasmine's stomping ground, the Upper East Side in Manhattan, Blanchett bent her ear to the neighbourhood's accents of affluence.

"I drank way too much wine sitting in restaurants by myself," says Blanchett, sitting in a New York office in a sleeveless emerald green top and skirt.

The polished refinement, though, is only a small element - a surface that cracks - to Blanchett's enormously layered performance in Blue Jasmine. Her Jasmine is, as she says, "a fragile, combustible cocktail of rage and guilt and fear." Penniless in San Francisco, where she's forced to stay at the working class home of her sister (Sally Hawkins), Jasmine is a vodka-swilling, Xanax-popping mess of self-loathing, denial and panic - a woman in free fall who can't bear to face herself in the mirror.

Like many of the 44-year-old actress' best performances, including her Oscar-nominated turn as Elizabeth I in 1998's Elizabeth, Jasmine is a mix of ruthlessness (she's brutal to those she considers inferior) and quaking vulnerability. The performance has been called a lock for an Academy Award nomination, which would be her sixth.

The role's complexity is partly in the film's A Streetcar Named Desire structure, toggling back and forth between before the downfall (in New York and the Hamptons) and after (San Francisco). Blanchett carefully charted Jasmine's unraveling across the flashbacks: "You don't want to flat line," she says. Jasmine is thus many people, radiantly elegant for some (Peter Sarsgaard, as a moneyed suitor) and condescendingly bitter to others (Bobby Cannavale, as her sister's blue-collar boyfriend).

"People talk about actors pretending, but you watch people and a certain person walks into a room, that person who's speaking to you one minute completely changes," says Blanchett. "We're constantly morphing into different outward manifestations of ourselves. That's what I find curious about people. It's just that as Jasmine progress through the story and her situation becomes increasingly desperate, those social identities become increasingly fractured and they're not able to be a cohesive, functioning person."

While Woody Allen is known for giving his actors wide berth, that such a powerhouse performance comes in a late film of his - a period mostly defined by lightness and international settings - comes as a staggering surprise. Though Blanchett immediately committed after a brief phone call from Allen, she, too, wondered which direction the film might go.

"The challenge was one of tone, particularly when I began to hear what the casting was like," she says, noting that comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Louis C.K. ended up giving unexpected, natural performances. "I did think: Is this more in the line of Bananas or Interiors? Which way is it going to swing? He did say to me three weeks in, 'You know, this is a serious movie.'"

Allen had proclaimed his interest to work with Blanchett at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010. She was the obvious choice, he says, for the part he had written based on a ruined New York family his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, told him about. (Allen says Madoff "never figured remotely" into his thinking.)

"I needed a great actress and when you think of great actresses in the world, Cate comes into mind immediately," Allen said in an e-mail from France, where he's shooting his next film. "Cate is one of those people that are great, she was great before she met me and she will be great after. I really have very little to say to her."

Blanchett knew not to expect a lot of feedback from Allen, "so I wanted to come in with enough to offer," she says. Of the details of her character, she says: "None of this was discussed or seemed to be of interest to Woody."

"I'm not particularly needy as an actor," says Blanchett. "I'm not doing it because I want to be told that I'm good."

Other directors and actors have confirmed that. Anthony Minghella, who directed her in The Talented Mr. Ripley, once swooned over her in an essay, calling her "a natural comedienne, a whole body actor." Geoffrey Rush has said she "has a constant amorphous physicality."

Many have rhapsodised over her phosphorescent skin (as Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings films she literally glows) which slights her fiercely observant eyes. Her shape-shifting, from Bob Dylan in I'm Not There to Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (which won her sole Oscar), is legendary.

"You have to find a point of connection, but I'm not interested in reducing the character to my set of experiences," says Blanchett. "That's the way, hopefully, you keep expanding as an actor, that you're constantly challenging your understanding of how people think and behave."

Her presence on screen, though, has been rarer in recent years. Five years ago, Blanchett and her playwright husband Andrew Upton, with whom she has three sons, began leading the Sydney Theatre Company. Their stewardship as artistic directors, which Upton will continue solo for several more seasons, has been roundly applauded, including those productions of Streetcar and Uncle Vanya. She recently finished a run of Jean Genet's The Maids before flying to the US to promote Blue Jasmine.

"I hope I've become a better actress through simply concentrating on theatre," she says. "I went to a theatre school with no hopes or particular aspirations to work in the cinema. It's a small industry and I'm a bit peculiar looking. I didn't think I was that girl."

Asked whether she missed the movies while focusing on work at the STC, she quickly answers, "No." She acknowledges she was "a bit burned out" from back-to-back film work before taking over the theatre: "I was so bored with myself, which is a frequent feeling I have."

Instead, she relished the chance to run the company where she started out after drama school: programming a year of plays, tackling major roles, giving young playwrights a showcase and being part of a country's cultural discourse.

"People talk about it like it's a great sacrifice," she says. "Are you kidding me?"

Blanchett does, though, have a number of films lined up. She's shot two Terrence Malick films, and stars in George Clooney's historical thriller The Monuments of Men, which does not have an Australian release date. She's also signed up for a movie with David Mamet and another with Todd Haynes.

"In a way, I've come back with renewed passion for it all," she says before insisting: "I never want to work. Even when you're presented with these great opportunities, I think, 'I really love being in my pajamas with the kids.'"

So why does she keep saying yes?

"The offers!" she exclaims. "Woody Allen picks up the phone, what am I going to say? I'm not going to be that schmuck who says, "Mmmm, maybe not.' I get out of my pyjamas and I go to work."

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