Gary Young, Director & Producer, The Film Factory:
keeping with Mediaman's tradition of tackling
any subject, we explore the world of film making.
This time, we interview our own client in this "space",
has produced and directed some of Australia's most
popular films, and has many firsts to his name.
Film Factory in conjunction with Mediaman
is getting ready for a full scale assault on the Australian
caught up with Gary most recently on his rural property
in Goulburn, NSW.
talks openly about his career and his current plans.
So Gary after 30 years as a Film Producer..Actor..Director...tell
me some highlights,what stands out in your mind?
Well Greg I remember when I was 25 years old...on
my birthday..I laid awake all night thinking "...I'm
25 years old and what have I done with my life..nothing.."
this was at 25?
Yes..and by that time, amongst other things..I had
invented car cam or race cam......using cameras as
big as refrigerators to get shots they now get with
lipstick cameras..you see them in every car and bike
race now...it first debuted on TV...on the Bob Rogers
show on Channel 7 in Sydney. It was in the Movie WHEELS
ON FIRE which is still a box office legend in Australian
WHEELS ON FIRE tell me about that film?
That was the first Movie I ever made...and to tell
you the truth it was a bit rough around the edges
but it just seemed to catch the imagination at the
time...it was just a smash hit...everybody just assumed
I knew exactly what audiences wanted...and to tell
you the truth I was just as bewildered as everyone
else with its smash hit success.....of course my head
was a bit big so I just didn't let on ...and I played
it by ear and smiled a lot......it brought Drag Racing
and funny cars to the guys in the bush who had never
seen anything like that..I remember it also showed
how to do wild paintwork and build big engines....for
instance I remember it played Dubbo drive in..on the
opening night the guys would go with their girlfriends...the
next night they dumped their girlfriends and took
all their mates...the next night all the mates took
all their mates and by Monday night the guys were
driving in from the cattle stations and the far flung
outposts....the next week there would be maybe 3 or
4 copies of the wild paintwork driving up and down
the main street...and this happened from the cities
right thru to places like Yarrawonga thru to Townsville..all
over..it was amazing...
And when was this?
this would have been the early seventies...I was on
the Midday show and others shows like that....and
we would take real dragsters and funny cars right
into the TV studios and then start them up..it was
just havoc...we did that near theatres as well to
promote the picture...they were just amazing times...
and what sort of money did the picture earn?
Well its hard to judge its success by a dollar figure
now because the admission prices were around 80 cents
when it first went into release and maybe $1.20 when
it finished its run...and it still managed to gross
almost $3million.....by comparison maybe its best
to say maybe 4 people saw WHEELS ON FIRE for everyone
who saw PRISCILLA Channel 10 paid me $30,000 for screening
rights in 1975 at a time when they were paying around
$3000..$4000 for US made pictures..it was just amazing..
and did it screen widely?
Oh yes it screened all over Australia and went back
to some theatres time and time again...
OK that was the first picture Tell me some other titles?
Well I made NUTS BOLTS & BEDROOM SPRINGS..it also
did major box office and then OOPS...and then COSY
COOL....I did ENDLESS CURSE OF THE MUMMY while I was
in the US.. I have 3 in production at the moment...THE
LEGEND OF THUNDERBOLT...THE CALIFORNIA KID and KITT....its
kinda weird though...in NUTS BOLTS AND BEDROOM SPORINGS
I had RUSSELL MULCAHY........... appear as a "director"
in a scene.... and right after that he made RAZORBACK
and then SEAN CONNERY in HIGHLANDER and he has worked
as a director ever since..major success..probably
one of Australia's most prolific directors.
Ok so where does SUMMER CITY fit in there..MEL GIBSON'S
Well when I was shooting COSY COOL ..Phil Avalon was
shooting SUMMER CITY and MEL GIBSON was only the fourth
lead and it was his first film...Phil was having trouble
working out a way to give the movie a sudden impact
start so we screened the picture..or what he had shot
at the time and between Phil and I we rewrote the
entire first part of the picture...and it did very
well...I owned the video and DVD rights to the picture
and I just sold them for DVD release..
You make a big thing about controlling your movies
Yes I do..if I have a criticism about the OZ film
industry its that Producers are only too happy to
get paid to make the movies and then lots of them
just fade away..I like to have control of the copyright
and then make sure they get seen...our family company
controls a large number of Aussie pictures in various
rights and we push hard to get them into release.
OK I can see we are running out of time but before
we go can you just tell us about COSY COOL and the
Fathers day massacre?
Well Greg when we opened COSY COOL we got maybe a
full 8 minutes promotion on 9's A CURRENT AFFAIR...and
it opened in the Hoyts TOWN CINEMA in SYDNEY..it had
big promo and it did well over 25,000 admissions in
that one theatre alone over 2 weeks ..it grossed very
hard.. and it did well...just after this I went to
the US and one day a few years later I opened the
paper and read all about the FATHERS DAY MASSACRE
in Milperra...well I can just tell you it was a shock
to read...the last scene of COSY COOL was actually
a Massacre and it involved the Comanchero Bikers...and
more than that...MY co star in the Movie JOHN WILSON
was actually invited to the "BAR B Q" by
the bikers..and the very first person killed was the
young woman with Wilson....If I was in Sydney no doubt
I would also have received an invite to the "BAR
B Q"...its just erie....and more than one industry
type has suggested that the Comancheros just decided
to bring cinema to "real life"....for years
TV stations have not screened the picture because
of this reasoning..its a shame actually...
Thanks for the time...
No Problem..the pleasure is all mine.
note: You will be hearing a great deal more from Gary
Young and Greg Tingle in the movie "space"
much sooner than you would think. You read it hear
Promo: The California Kid
Movie Database: Gary Young
- Movie Makers and Movie Stars - What Makes a Star?,
by Greg Tingle