On the set of Peter Farrelly’s made-in-Melbourne comedy

“Literally, we wouldn’t be here without those,” says Jacobs. “It wouldn’t have been possible to make the movie at this budget without that. It’s fantastic.”


He won’t get any argument from Efron, who relocated to Australia during the pandemic and reportedly bought a large property in the Gold Coast hinterland in 2021.

“I’ve shot a couple of things out here, and it’s been nothing but a great experience,” the 35-year-old who shot to fame as the star of the High School Musical franchise says.

“You spend a lot of time here even when you’re not shooting here, don’t you,” teases Farrelly, knowing full well that Efron would rather keep his GPS co-ordinates to himself.

“Yeah,” Efron says, sheepishly. “Yeah.”

Don’t worry, Farrelly assures him. “I’m not going to tell them where you live.”

This film marks a return to the kind of ribald comedy with which Farrelly and his brother Bobby made their names – the Dumb and Dumber films, There’s Something About Mary – after the more sober tones of Green Book, for which he won Academy Awards for best original screenplay and best film four years ago, and the Vietnam War-themed The World’s Greatest Beer Run.

Today’s scenes include a peanut-catching competition, the accidental drugging of a rabbi, and panicked attempts to stop said rabbi performing a bris (circumcision) under the influence.

Efron shot the feature film Gold, written and directed by co-star Anthony Hayes, in South Australia in late 2020.

Efron shot the feature film Gold, written and directed by co-star Anthony Hayes, in South Australia in late 2020.Credit:Stan

As the paparazzi have already revealed, the film also includes a scene in which Cena dresses in a skirt and heels, complete with makeup, which may well be enough to generate the kind of backlash that has greeted many of the Farrelly brother’s movies over the years.

The former WWE champ isn’t too concerned about any of that, though. He’s just revelling in the biggest role to date in his still-fledgling acting career.

“Whatever the costume is, whatever the creative process is, if you embrace it wholeheartedly you never know what magic you’ll create,” he says. “That’s the beauty of what we do.”

As for where they do it, Efron has views of his own.

“I would love to shoot stuff for the rest of my life here,” he says. “And I hope this is the beginning of that.”

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