Mt Coolum and its surrounds will make another appearance on our TV screens this Tuesday night in the second instalment of the new multiplatform ABC comedy series, The Strange Calls.
Written and directed by former Coolum resident Daley Pearson ($quid) during his time as a nightshift attendant at The Shop Coolum, the unique series was filmed on location in Coolum and Brisbane earlier this year.
An online preview of the first episode a week before the series officially premiered on ABC2 brought rave reviews, with audiences embracing the multiplatform concept of TV broadcast, Twitter and Facebook.
Produced by award-winning, Brisbane-based production company Hoodlum Entertainment, The Strange Calls stars iconic Australian performer Barry Crocker and actor Toby Truslove in a six-episode comedy that plays on the idea Mount Coolum is a hotbed of paranormal activity.
It follows hapless city cop Toby Banks (Truslove) – a young, hopeless and heartbroken Constable who finds himself transferred (demoted) to Coolum’s night-duty desk.
With the shadow of Mt Coolum looming large in the background, Banks is forced to investigate strange late night phone calls that reveal the bizarre truth of Coolum – a place where men turn into chickens, mermaids fall in love with locals and cats return from the grave.
Working out of a run-down caravan on the outskirts of town, he meets Coolum Caretaker Gregor, (Crocker), a wild-eyed and eccentric authority on the paranormal, and the two unite to form a classic ‘odd-couple’ investigative team.
“Multiplatform is a style of storytelling that includes but goes beyond just the tradition. Not only could Hoodlum see the multiplatform potential of Daley’s idea, but his comic talent was immediately apparent. And the chance to make the first comedy series conceived, written and filmed in Queensland was irresistible,” Tracey Robertson, Executive Producer for Hoodlum said.
“Hoodlum’s success in the digital production arena is well known in Australia and internationally and we’re very proud that the work has brought us many accolades, including recognition at the Emmy and BAFTA Awards.”
The series is also receiving some international attention with US Network ABC picking it up for a pilot before it had even made its’ Australian premiere.
The US adaptation will be led by writer Donick Cary (New Girl), director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and producer Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors). All three will executive produce alongside the Australian series producers, Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield of Hoodlum.
“Seeing a US network pickup an Australian series to pilot before it has even broadcast is remarkable and such a testament to the creative vision of the team and the show,” ABC head of comedy, Debbie Lee said.
Actors Crocker and Truslove are joined in the series by other key cast members Nick Simpson-Deeks (The Circuit, Winners & Losers), Patrick Brammal (Lowdown 2, At Home with Julia), Katherine Hicks (Rescue Special Ops, Out of the Blue) and Damon Herriman (Rake, Laid, Justified).
27-years-old former Coolum resident, Daley Pearson has admitted that his late night shifts at The Shop Coolum convenience store inspired his writing of the series, adding that it was no coincidence that the show is themed around a police officer working the night shift and meeting strange people.
The Strange Calls airs on ABC2 at 9.30pm each Tuesday night, or check out ‘Gregor’s’ weird online world at http://thestrangecalls.abc.net.au/#!/s5 for the very latest ‘strange happenings’ in Coolum.