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Eight things locals need to know before seeing Oddball

News Article Date: 
Wednesday, 16 September 2015

With the hype around Oddball reaching fever pitch ahead of its nation-wide release on September 17, we’ve compiled a few little-known facts about the making of the film to give you the inside scoop.

Shane Jacobson is no stranger to Warrnambool

Shane Jacobson, who plays Allan “Swampy” Marsh in the film, has been coming to Warrnambool since the age of 10.

His parents would bring the family down for regular holidays while Shane also returned every Easter as an adult to coordinate the fireworks at the Warrnambool Speedway in his pre-fame role as a professional pyrotechnician.

Shane also spent time in Warrnambool in 2008 for the filming of Charlie and Boots alongside Paul Hogan.

Oddball is a girl

In the film, the character of Oddball is male. The original Oddball as well as all Middle Island penguin guardians since, have been girls. Speaking of the original Oddball, she is happily enjoying retirement on Swampy Marsh’s farm.

The second ever Middle Island maremma, Missy, is acknowledged in the film in the role of Swampy’s chook guarding dog.

Filming locations around Warrnambool

While much of the film was made in the Docklands Film Studios, key sections were filmed in and around Warrnambool.

We’re sure you’ll recognise Liebig Street in the scene where Swampy and his granddaughter search for Oddball as well as an exciting chase scene through Flagstaff Hill.

The more observant of you will notice that the wide shots of Middle Island in the film are really Merri Island, the island next to the real Middle Island. Scenes which appear to be on Middle Island were actually filmed at nearby Pickering Point or on set in Docklands.

The apple cart owner is no ordinary extra

Blink and you’ll miss it, but the apple cart owner in the film is really Phil Root, the real life Maremma wrangler. When not performing as an extra in films, Phil is responsible for looking after our current penguin protecting canines, Eudy and Tula.

You can meet Phil, Eudy and Tula on the Middle Island tours which run over summer.

Two penguins found love on set

Film sets can be romantic places. Just ask Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart or even Rupert Sanders and Kristen Stewart.

The set of Oddball was no different, with an unlikely couple finding love.

Six little penguins where chosen to star in the film. Four were too young to breed while the other two, Chip and Edith, hadn’t shown much interest in finding a mate.

Love blossomed between the pair and a year later, they are still a happy couple.

The couple is now back at Sea World on the Gold Coast getting used to life as parents.

That’s not Frank!

Flagstaff Hill staff member and resident blacksmith Steve Ivey had to step in for Frank Woodley for a key driving scene as the actor was ill for a day. Frank is notable for always doing his own stunts, so this is a rare moment in cinema.

Frank was really sick too, and wasn’t just pretending because he’d forgotten to book the caravan park (10 points if you get that reference).

Speaking of stunts, Dave Lawson would have earned the respect of the stunt coordinator, and maybe the ire of the producers, when his very committed slide across the front of a police car left a large dent in the bonnet, which had to be replaced.

Shane Jacobson had to eat thirteen raw eggs

How many raw eggs do you think you could eat at once? An early scene requires Shane Jacobson to eat a raw egg, but as is the way in movie making, it had to be shot and re-shot thirteen times. Shane does very well to keep it together!

The movie dogs didn’t like the ocean

Kai and Meeko, the two dogs trained for the film, didn’t take to water straight away.

An important shot of Oddball heading over to the island had to be postponed after neither pooch particularly wanted to cross the shallow stretch of water in front of Middle Island.

The real maremmas, Eudy and Tula, were on stand-by the following day in case the actors still didn’t want to enter the water. Everything was fine, however, with the shot completed without any further fuss.

Special bonus fact: no go for Swampy's overalls

As well known for his outfit as for his maremmas, some of you may be surprised to see that Shane Jacobson doesn't don Swampy's signature overalls in the film. This is because it was felt that this would be too similar to the ensemble Jacobson made famous in Kenny, so it was decided to stick with a flannelette shirt instead.

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