WIMMERA and southern Mallee residents will get the chance to spot themselves on the big screen on the first day of the new year.
The Dry, starring Eric Bana and based on the novel of the same name by Jane Harper, will be released nationally on January 1, 2021.
The landscape is set to be just as big a character as the man who has played the Hulk.
The film was shot on location in towns including Minyip, Beulah and Jeparit in early 2019, and director Robert Connolly said many people in the regions helped either as extras or by renting out their homes to cast and crew.
"Making the film was one of the great highlights of my entire career really," he said.
"One of the things Eric and I found on the location-finding trip we did in late 2018 was that every place we went to talk to people about where we could film, was that they would always say 'I can show you this'. It was this realisation it's a very welcoming community out there, and we felt people were keen to show us how it could be done.
"At the end of the day it was an incredible amount of support we received from the local community."
More than 170 people from across the region will be mentioned in the film's credits.
The novel and film are set in the drought-stricken town of Kiewerra, and Federal Agent Aaron Falk, played by Bana returns home after 20 years to attend the funeral of his childhood friend. He stays to investigate the unsolved death of a teenage girl.
As well as writing the book, Ms Harper stars as an extra with friends and family in The Dry. She said it was important the film retained the Australian feel of her story.
"I was delighted when they decided to film on location," she said. "Visually, it's exactly how I imagined it. The film also captures what country towns really are by filming the buildings and involving locals as extras in substantial roles."
Ms Harper worked as a journalist in Geelong when she moved back to Australia from the UK in 2008, and spent weekends exploring the state. After visiting the Wimmera, she found the landscape to use as inspiration her novel.
"When I sat down to write The Dry, I wanted it to be something I would like to read, and I thought this would be a really rich setting for the book," she said. "It could have a lot of avenues and issues that could be explored.
"I hope there are some tangible benefits to the community having been involved in this, economic and social."
Mr Connolly is confident the film will have this impact.
"When films come out, people become curious about where they were set," he said.
"The landscape is breathtaking, and you'll see this in the film: It's a real celebration of that whole world, and it shows the hardship of drought and the impact of farmers trying to make a living. I really wanted to get that right."
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