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‘Priscilla’ sequel in development with the original stars to reprise their iconic roles

Stephan Elliot, the director of the iconic Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is reportedly working on a sequel and the three stars of the original movie are onboard too.

Film industry magazine Variety has reported that Elliot will write, direct and produce the sequel and in currently looking for a producing partner to finance the project.

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The new film would come three decades after the original film and see Terrance Stamp returning to play transgender woman Bernadette Bassenger. While Hugo Weaving reprise his role as Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose and Guy Pearce would be back as Adam Whitely.

Elliott told Deadline that he was enthused about revisiting the characters.

“I’m not repeating myself, we’ll start the new film in Australia, but by God, we’re going on one helluva journey,” Elliott reveals.

“The original cast is on board, I’ve got a script that everybody likes, we’re still working out deals. … It’s happening,”

The original film was a surprise success when it was released in 1994. Made with the low budget of just AUD$2.3 million, it went on to make over AUD$18 million at the local box office.

The film (has anyone not seen it?) tells the story of a transgender woman and men who are drag performers who leave the safe surroundings of inner-city Sydney to head to a cabaret booking in Alice Springs. They make their journey to the red centre on an old silver bus dubbed Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

What the plot will be for the new film is largely unknown, but it will involve Tick’s son who is now all grown up.

Veteran actor Terrance Stamp, who is now 85, has previously spoken about how he nearly backed out of the role which was unlike anything he’d previously done in his career. His last screen appearance was a small part in the 2021 film Last Night in Soho.

The film transformed Guy Pearce’s career, taking him from Neighbours heartthrob to the big screen. He went on to find international success with L.A. Confidential, Memento, The King’s Speech and television projects including Mare of Easttown, Mildred Pierce and the Jack Irish detective mysteries.

Since appearing in Priscilla Hugo Weaving has filled many more iconic roles including appearances in V for Vendetta, and The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings films. He’s recently starred in two seasons of the Australian television series Love Me.

One star of the original film who won’t be in the sequel is Bill Hunter. The actor who played mechanic Bob Spart passed away in 2011 aged 71. Aside from playing Bob in the film, he also reprised the role in the stage musical based on the work.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was director and writer Stephan Elliot’s second film after his 1993 debut Frauds.

He’s gone on to create Welcome to Woop Woop, Eye of the Beholder, Easy Virtue, A Few Best Men, Rio, I Love You and Swinging Safari. None have echoed the success of his best-known film.

The original ‘Priscilla’ is found after 30 years

Last week The Guardian reported that the original Priscilla bus had been located after being missing for 30 years.

The filmmaker hired the distinctive 1976 Japanese model Hino RC320 from a tour company for the duration of the film shoot but attempts to relocate the bus as the film’s popularity grew proved fruitless.

It had gone on to be a tour bus for Australian band The Whitlams soon after it was used in the film, but what happened to it after that was a mystery.

For decades the staff at the History Trust of South Australia hoped to find the bus so it could be included as an exhibit at the National Motor Museum.

In 2019 a man named Michael McMahon contacted them and let them know the bus was sitting in a state of disrepair on a property he had bought in the tiny New South Wales Town of Ewingar in the state’s north.

Curators spent months checking that it really was the same bus, because over the years there have been many copies of the Priscilla bus. It turns out the bus that appeared at the 2000 Olympics, and the one in the drag reality show I Will Survive were not the original bus.

The History Trust of South Australia have now launched a fundraising campaign to bring the film back to the condition it was in when the film was made. It will then have a new home in a museum. So far the campaign has raised over $165,000.

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