Short Cuts: The fate of the real last cab to Darwin and why Hugh Jackman would be a failure as a director

Rusting away … the real last cab to Darwin in a yard in Darwin. Photo: Philip Nitschke Wants to shoot two films in Sydney … Hugh Jackman. Photo: Steven Siewert

Thriller in Manila … Beast.

Real last cab is dying without dignity

As the film it inspired continues to perform strongly in cinemas, the real last cab to Darwin is slowly disappearing in an overgrown yard. Terminally ill Broken Hill cabbie Max Bell drove it to the Northern Territory capital in the 1990s — the journey that inspired Jeremy Sims’ film. Euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke , who was with Bell when he died, has owned the car ever since. “He left it to me, ‘To help to get the euthanasia law working’,” he says. “It became the Exit campaign car for the next 10 years till it finally died in Darwin with a failed welch plug.” Dr Nitschke says it’s sad watching such an historic vehicle slowly decay on his Darwin block. “It still has the taxi meter in it,” he says, “along with the length of chain under the seat that Max told me he used when people decided they didn’t want to pay the fare”. After a strong third weekend that saw its release widen to 247 cinemas — it started on 221 — Last Cab To Darwin has taken $4.4 million so far. It will widen again to 265 cinemas this weekend as it heads towards topping $6 million. Why Hugh Jackman won’t be directing

Hugh Jackman grabbed headlines with the big announcement this week that he is touring the country with the arena show Broadway to Oz — Hugh Jackman Live in Concert. But he also spoke about the two movies he is hoping to shoot in Australia — his final Wolverine instalment and Michael Gracey’s P.T. Barnum bio-pic The Greatest Showman On Earth. While both are dependent on locations, Jackman hopes to shoot them largely in Sydney, just as he has with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine. Other than the filmmaking incentives to shoot in Australia, the attractions include being able to have a dip at Bondi before heading to Fox Studios. But while Jackman has moved into producing his movies, he has no interest in following fellow Les Miserables star Russell Crowe into directing. “I just ran into Joel Edgerton and he said he he’s had the time of his life [directing as well as starring in The Gift] and that made me think about it. But I just feel I’m a bit too indecisive.” Jackman says the greatest directors are very definite in their vision as they make 200 to 300 decisions a day. “I think I’d just be annoying to everybody and to myself,” he says. “‘Yeah, I like the red and the yellow dress’. ‘Well which one?’ ‘They’re both great.’ It would be that all day long.” Boxing pic gets Toronto debut

The directing debut for Australian brothers Tom and Sam McKeith, boxing drama-thriller Beast, has been selected for a world premiere in the Discovery section at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Australian-Filipino film centres on a young boxer (Chad McKinney) who is forced to go on the run through the streets of Manila after accidentally killing an opponent in a crooked fight. Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave) plays his American expat father. The brothers, both graduates of the Australian Film Television and Radio School, said they were thrilled at selection for what was the perfect platform for the film. “We hope people respond to the film’s rawness and enjoy the bold performance of our lead Chad McKinney, a boxer who we discovered training at a gym in Manila,” they said. The festival said the brothers had taken “elements of classic boxing films, added thriller twists, and refracted the resulting story through the lens of social realism” to create “a heart-pounding tale”. More French films in new festival

The newest addition to the film festival calender opens next week — Alliance Française Classic Film Festival, which features six films starring the legendary Catherine Deneuve. Alliance festival manager Patricia Noeppel-Detmold expects the festival to attract both regulars at the Alliance’s French Film Festival every March and newcomers wanting to catch some classics on the big screen. The festival, which features the likes of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle de Jour and Indochine, is at Event George Street and Cremorne Orpheum from Thursday to Sunday. UnIndian heads to Montreal

The comic romance unIndian, starring former cricketer Brett Lee and India’s Tannishtha Chatterjee, has been selected for a surprising world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival. Directed by Anupam Sharma, the film has also been picked up by Scandinavian international sales agent Yellow Affair, which describes it as “entertaining and genuinely funny” as “it touches cleverly on cultural differences”. Sharma describes the selection as “a pleasant surprise” for what was never intended to be a festival film.Unindian opens in Australian cinemas on October 15. Vacation opens on top

The National Lampoon reboot Vacation opened on top of the Australian box office on the weekend with $1.68 million. Boxing drama Southpaw had a better cinema average but came in second with $1.55 million. On a low-key weekend in cinemas, Jurassic World finally slipped out of the top 20 after 10 hugely popular weeks that saw it reach $52.8 million. It became the fourth highest-grossing movie in Australian cinemas, behind only Avatar, Titanic and The Avengers.

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