Over half of the senior film crew on this film were women. This included director Rachel Ward, producer Deborah Balderstone, cinematographer Bonnie Elliott, screenwriter Joanna Murray-Smith, art director Sophie Nash, costume designer Joanna Mae Park, production designer Melinda Doring, hair & make-up designer Jennifer Lamphee, and casting director Kirsty McGregor.
Sandie Don, Managing Director of eOne for Australia and New Zealand, said of this production: "Palm Beach is a wonderful ensemble piece filled with rich and vibrant characters; a sharply observed portrait of different generations whose reunion is both humorous and poignant. The combination of this exceptional filmmaking team, a famed Sydney setting and a story rife with drama and heart makes for an exciting film that will no doubt connect with Australian audiences."
Don Harwin, New South Wales Minister for the Arts, said of this production: "This is fantastic news for filmmaking in the state, bringing in a spend of over [Australian] $5 million as well as eighty jobs across the shoot at the beautiful Palm Beach location setting. I am particularly pleased to see the hugely-talented Rachel Ward at the helm, directing an incredibly acclaimed cast and crew."
Director Rachel Ward has said of this film: "Palm Beach is filled with colorful characters and a plot that explores the complexities between different generations and life-long friends. I'm excited to get started with a cast of many old friends and husbands."
Palm Beach, which is situated north of Sydney in New South Wales in Australia, is well-known to Australian television audiences as a major filming location in the Australian soap drama 'Home and Away'.
'Palm Beach' (2019) is the first theatrical feature film collaboration starring actors Sam Neill and Bryan Brown since 'Sweet Country' (2017). 'Palm Beach' (2019) is director Rachel Ward's second theatrical feature film as a director, her first was 'Beautiful Kate' (2009). Both 'Sweet Country' (2017) and 'Beautiful Kate' (2009) were productions which were made by the South Australian Film Corporation.
When actor-producer Bryan Brown was starring in the earlier 'Palm Beach' (1980), Rachel Ward, Brown's wife and the director and co-writer of 'Palm Beach' (2019), was around that time playing Jenny in the 'Christmas Lilies of the Field' (1979) tele-movie, which was Ward's acting debut in feature filmed productions.
Second theatrical feature film of actress-director Rachel Ward and actor Richard E. Grant who had both worked together portraying husband and wife thirty years previous in 'How to Get Ahead in Advertising' (1989). 'Palm Beach' (2019) debuts in the 30th Anniversary year of that collaboration with Grant acting and Ward directing.
The movie opened the 2019 Sydney Film Festival in Sydney, New South Wales in Australia on 5th June 2019. Director Rachel Ward's first theatrical feature film, 'Beautiful Kate' (2009), also had a revival screening at this fest.
The movie's producers, Bryan Brown and Deborah Balderstone, about seventeen years earlier, both previously collaborated producing the Australian crime flick 'Dirty Deeds' (2002), in which Brown also starred. Actors Sam Neill and Felix Williamson also appear in both pictures.
The film's original distributor was eOne (Entertainment One), but after this organization folded, the distribution of the movie was taken over by Universal Pictures. Universal acquired the title along with another Australian comedy, 'Top End Wedding' (2019), starring Miranda Tapsell and Gwilym Lee.
Second produced screenplay for a theatrical feature film of both the film's director Rachel Ward and playwright Joanna Murray-Smith whose debut produced movie scripts were for co-'Beautiful Kate' (2009) and 'Georgia' (1988) respectively - two pictures which both featured titles comprising female names.
The name of the 1977 hit song sung by the rock band the Pacific Sideburns was "Fearless". The song was written for the movie by former surf rock group Australian Crawl member James Reyne who in real life had had a similar 1983 hit song with the band called "Reckless" - with the two songs having rhyming titles.
Directing this feature film 'Palm Beach' (2019), actress turned writer-director Rachel Ward previously featured prominently on a "beach" with Jeff Bridges in movie posters promoting the picture 'Against All Odds' (1984). That Columbia Pictures film featured a major movie poster with Rachel Ward atop Jeff Bridges in a love scene on a beach. The same studio had once produced a movie about thirty years earlier called From Here to Eternity (1953) which had a beach love scene that became very famous. It featured Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster passionately embracing on a beach with the ocean waves tiding in. The Against All Odds (1984) love beach shot on the movie poster for that film also became very famous though it did not feature sea water like the one for From Here to Eternity (1953) had.
Second theatrical feature film collaboration of actor Sam Neill and actress Greta Scacchi who both previously had starred in the Australian romantic-drama 'Country Life' (1994). 'Palm Beach' (2019) debuted in the 25th Anniversary year of that picture.
The big cover headline of the fictional 1977 'Rolling Stone' magazine cover story shown in the film for the rock band the Pacific Sideburns, whom the friends once played in, read: "THE PACIFIC SIDEBURNS: Surf's Up! The New Wave".
Actor Bryan Brown and actress Greta Scacchi previously collaborated on the 2006 "Heart Attack" episode of the 14-part Australian television series "Two Twisted" (2005-2006), this episode also being directed by Rachel Ward, the director of 'Palm Beach' (2019).
The movie was inspired by a real life Christmas in Wales that writer-director Rachel Ward and actor-producer Bryan Brown spent with some old friends in Wales. "It was a funny and warm occasion but also one where we realised no-one is untouched," Brown has said whilst Ward has commented that "all of the men were going through some form of existential crisis. These were people who had successful lives...but they were raging and going through a lot of psychological angst, and very much struggling to come to terms with this latter stage of life." All the couples at the occasion were aged in their sixties with this Yuletide event ending up being the major inspiration for this movie.
Actor-producer Bryan Brown, actresses Heather Mitchell and Jacqueline McKenzie, and writer-director Rachel Ward, all previously appeared in another "beach" titled feature, all in acting roles, with this being the tele-movie remake 'On the Beach' (2000).
Actor Bryan Brown and actress Jacqueline McKenzie both previously appeared in the tele-movie 'On the Beach' (2000) and the 2006 "Saviour" episode of the 14-part Australian television series "Two Twisted" (2005-2006).
Cast and crew who worked on both this movie and writer-director Rachel Ward's first feature film, 'Beautiful Kate' (2009), include Ward, actor-producer Bryan Brown, hair & make-up designer Jennifer Lamphee, actress and acting coach Heather Mitchell, unit publicist Fiona Nix, and music supervisor Jennifer Taunton.
Anick Poirier, Senior Vice President of Seville International, said of this production: "Palm Beach is a touching project with a very talented cast and we are sure that this film will warm the hearts of audiences all over the world. We are thrilled to be working alongside our colleagues in Australia/New Zealand on this superb project."
Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia, said of this production: "Palm Beach, like the destination, presents an irresistible package. Renowned playwright Joanna Murray-Smith's engaging script is brimming with juicy characters, which we know this superb cast will relish sinking their teeth into. Add in to the mix seasoned talent like director Rachel Ward, producers Bryan Brown and Deb Balderstone, and we believe this film will be highly entertaining with excellent commercial prospects."
Adam Marshall, New South Wales Minister for Tourism and Major Events, said the production will showcase Sydney's northern beaches to viewers from around the world. He said: "Film is a powerful medium to showcase destinations, with a location so often becoming a central character in itself in many screen stories. We're delighted to be supporting this new Australian comedy which will showcase Sydney's picturesque Palm Beach and surrounding Pittwater region to a worldwide audience."
Speaking from Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, producers Bryan Brown and Deborah Balderstone enthused about this production by jointly saying: "We are delighted to be embarking on this journey together with our partners. Everybody's vision is absolutely aligned and with Joanna's exceptional script in the incredibly capable hands of Rachel, the alluring world of 'Palm Beach' is hopefully set to become a future classic."
The 'Palm Beach' title is, according to David Stratton in his book 'The Last New Wave' (1980) when writing about the earlier 'Palm Beach' (1980) movie which also starred Bryan Brown, a name that "refers to a beach at the tip of Sydney's northern peninsula where the population is a mixture of the affluent, the artistic (several filmmakers live in the area) and what used to be called the beach bums".