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George Clooney, Julia Roberts arrive at Qld island transformed into Bali

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The coronavirus pandemic has made filming movies harder, and more expensive, than ever as countries in the grips of infection waves struggle to keep sets open and people healthy.

George Clooney and Julia Roberts were recently presented with this conundrum when they announced their new movie Ticket To Paradise, a romantic comedy that’s supposed to take place in the tropical paradise of Bali.

Due to ongoing travel restrictions and the higher risk of coronavirus infection in Indonesia, the production team behind Ticket To Paradise were instead forced to look elsewhere and Queensland was more than happy to step in.

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The Whitsundays region, with its crystal clear blue water, palm fringed islands and white sand beaches is increasingly becoming a favourite for film studios looking for a tropical place to film.

A set being constructed on Haslewood Island. Picture: Sharon Smallwood/Whitsunday Times

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An aerial view of Tongue Point, Apostle Bay, Whitsunday Island, Hill Inlet and Haslewood Island, in the Whitsunday region. Picture: Supplied

Clooney and Roberts arrived in Australia earlier this month, completing their mandatory quarantine before heading to Queensland to start filming.

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Recent paparazzi photos showed the production crew transforming Haslewood Island in the Whitsundays into a Bali lookalike.

Typical Balinese fishing boats and beachside huts sat on the sand as camera operators and the production crew surrounded the stars.

Haslewood Island and the Whitsundays region has already featured in a number of mass media events.

The 2017 Pirates of the Caribbean instalment, Dead Men Tell No Tales, was shot in the Whitsundays and featured Haslewood Island.

And, world-famous photographer Spencer Tunick also used the island as the backdrop for his iconic nude photoshoot in 2019.

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People posing on Haslewood Island for Spencer Tunick in 2019. Picture: Mick Tsikas

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Haslewood Island featured in Spencer Tunick’s ‘We Are Human’ 19/20 campaign. Picture: Mick Tsikas

In the film, Clooney and Roberts play a divorced couple who fly to Bali in a rush to stop their daughter’s wedding.

The movie also stars Billie Lourd, Kaitlyn Dever and Lucas Bravo and is due for release next year.

Ticket To Paradise has already been partially filmed, with the actors shooting scenes in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast earlier this month.

The movie was seen as a big get for Australia with Arts Minister Paul Fletcher releasing a statement in March announcing the film would be shot across Queensland.

Ticket To Paradise is expected to generate at least 270 jobs through its filming and will generate $47 million for the local economy.

The federal government also gave the film a $6.4 million grant for choosing to film in Australia, otherwise known as the Location Incentive Program.

“To date, we have distributed more than $216 million under the Location Incentive to attract 22 productions to Australia, providing more than 12,700 employment opportunities for local cast and crew, and generating work for over 13,500 businesses that support these big productions,” Mr Fletcher said in a statement back in March.

Big film productions are increasingly choosing Australia as the place to go thanks to government incentives and our success in keeping the coronavirus pandemic at bay.

“We are very lucky to have a Covid-safe destination where people can film right now and luckily not be subjected to delays or shutdowns and as well they can have an amazing lifestyle while they’re here,” Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said, after Ticket To Paradise was announced.

This article originally appeared on news.com.au and was reproduced with permission.

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