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

Digging deep for Diana - Naomi Watts reveals how she uncovered the real People's Princess

Naomi Watts as Diana, Princess of Wales in a scene from the film Diana.
Naomi Watts as Diana, Princess of Wales in a scene from the film Diana. Source: Supplied
Neala Johnson, The Daily Telegraph, reports

It's the day before the world premiere of Diana in London and the movie's star, Naomi Watts , though looking sleek in a black Victoria Beckham dress, is clearly a nervous woman.

Her promotional schedule in the days prior to the premiere has been cut back and she's joined by the calming figure of director Oliver Hirschbiegel for every interview.

The pair admit to being "concerned" what the royal family will think of the biopic charting the Princess of Wales' romance with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. But, the director shrugs, "You try not to p--- somebody off without reason".

It's not the royals the team behind the movie should have been worrying about. When the reviews from British critics break after the premiere, they are vicious. "A special class of awful," went one. "Fabulously awful," went the next. Princess Diana, said another, "has died another awful death".

Hirschbiegel has since pointed to a more positive reaction in other European countries; concluding that the British are just too close to the subject: "Diana is a trauma they haven't come to terms with."

Watts was 28 when Diana died. Having moved from England to Australia at 14, she wasn't bombarded with stories about the Princess as she might have been had she stayed. Still, she remembers clearly where she was when news of that crash in a Paris tunnel broke.

"I do remember the news ... and being quite traumatised by it. I was in Canada, probably filming a bad TV movie. And I was with, funnily enough, Rob Lowe and his wife.

"We were at dinner when we were told Dodi was dead. In the time that we left the restaurant and got back to the hotel, the bad news was revealed."

Watts has played real-life characters before - she was Oscar-nominated earlier this year for her portrayal of a mother caught in the Boxing Day tsunami in The Impossible.

"Of course with Diana I had the responsibility of telling the story in a truthful and sensitive way, but with the additional pressure of looking as close to her as possible and getting the voice right and all those things.

"Playing the most famous woman of our time is incredibly high-pressured because everyone feels they know her, so therefore she belongs to them. How can you take possession of a character that everybody knows so much about? That's a daunting thing."

While initially reluctant, once on board the film, Watts threw herself into the role.

"I saturated myself in all of the information available: I read every book, every old news article, watched every piece of footage I could find."

A couple of breaks in the shooting schedule - one before filming sequences in Mozambique, another due to Naveen Andrews (who plays Khan) being injured - caused the production to lag a little.

"The stopping and starting made it difficult. So by the time we got to the finish line, I was ready to finish," Watts laughs. "Being obsessed with that character, it was exhausting."

Hirschbiegel calls Princess Diana "the most complex character I've had to tackle to date". This from a man whose most famous film, Downfall, was about Hitler.

"No really, this woman does not cease to amaze me," he insists. "And there's way more, even, that could be shown, but that would be too much for the two hours that we have."

Watts' admiration for certain aspects of Diana's personality grew the more she learnt.

"I discovered things like her great wit. It was there on the page, but the people I spoke to that knew her also endorsed that. She had a really cheeky sense of humour and liked to crack icebreaker jokes.

"I liked the rebellious streak in her. And there's no question that her compassion and empathy were huge parts of her personality. She did some groundbreaking work, starting back in the early '90s when we didn't know much about AIDS and we saw her holding somebody; that was a big thing." (Watts has worked with the UN on AIDS awareness programs.)

Asked whether she believes Diana was a brave or a tragic person, she replies, "Well, tragic ending, of course. But she was very courageous, very bold and brave. There are certain things that she did like the Bashir interview which had to have taken a lot of courage."

It was the 1995 Martin Bashir interview - in which Diana spoke of her split with Prince Charles - that became Watts' bible for nailing Diana's voice. "It was the most candidly I heard her speak, really. I would listen to that all day long."

A voice coach also had her master the British "stiff upper lip" by putting "cocktail sticks in my mouth to paralyse my face".

But getting those posh vowel sounds right wasn't overly hard for one reason: "I am British," says Watts. "People think of me as Australian and my voice is Australian now as well. But I do have an open ear having grown up in those two countries."

At 44, Watts is now largely based in New York with her partner, actor Liev Schreiber, and their two sons, Sasha and Sammy. But when it comes down to it, is she British or ... "I'm both! Don't get me in trouble!" Watts cries, anticipating the question.

Still, how does Watts describe her connection with Australia these days?

"Oh, very strong. I'm just both. I grew up here, I do feel very British. My mother still lives here, well, between here and France and Australia. She's got a good life!

"But I go back as often as I can to Australia. I try to go for Christmas. I've got my grandmother there, I've got my aunts there, I've got cousins there. And it's very important for me to have the children feel that connection.

"I never had an Australian passport and that's why, when I fill out those forms every time I enter a country, I write 'British'. But I'm working on getting an Australian passport," she laughs.

"And my heart is in both countries. That's how I can answer it."

Ultimately, Hirschbiegel reckons the Diana he has put on film is "what I would call a 'cool chick' ".

Watts captured that cool in front of moving and still cameras, recreating famous images of Diana such as her Mario Testino shoot and sitting with her legs dangling off the diving board of Dodi's boat.

"It's definitely eerie," says Watts, of seeing herself transplanted into those images.

Hirschbiegel takes that feeling and doubles it: "For me it was like watching a ghost."

However, for all the red carpets, gorgeous gowns and media attention on her own life, Watts says she can only relate to Diana's fairytale/nightmare "on a minor, minor scale".

"I've had my frustrations and my altercations with paparazzi, but nothing to that level."

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