Pilliga Yowie caught on film

MAKING MOVIES: Truckie Craig Hawley debuts as an actor in new creature flick.
MAKING MOVIES: Truckie Craig Hawley debuts as an actor in new creature flick. Contributed

TRUCKIE turned actor Craig Hawley isn't as redneck as he appears in the upcoming film There's Something in the Pilliga.

Speaking to Big Rigs last week while loading in Melbourne he said the part wasn't huge, although he is on the movie poster - sporting a gun.

He got involved through his friendship with country music singer Jayne Denham and her husband Paul.

Paul had a hand in the final script for the movie and Craig, who had helped him with various music video clips over the years, was given a part.

"I play inbred Jed," Hawley said, "A bloke that lives in the bush on his own."

Writer/producer/director Dane Millerd has based the movie on the old truckies tale about the Pilliga Yowie or Bigfoot.

The Pilliga, for those that don't know, is a village about 100km west of Narrabri in New South Wales and there's been plenty of sightings of a Yowie and a Princess that roams the highways in that area.

Hawley said the movie was a lot of fun to make.

There’s Something in the Pilliga cast and crew.
There’s Something in the Pilliga cast and crew.

After seeing a racy photo of one of the cast members Big Rigs can see why - it goes without saying that the picture was probably more suited to picture mag then Big Rigs.

We asked Hawley if he believed in the legend of the Yowie and he said there was always something different in that area.

"I know truck drivers that won't sleep in the area...they had the truck shake when they were asleep once.

"When we were shooting the movie we were running through the bush, when we stopped something was still running away."

And that something had heavy footsteps he told us.

The movie was shot over nine days in the Pilliga area, which was a good working holiday for the truckie.

"Everyone involved was a great bunch of people."

Millerd describes the movie as an Aussie truckie creature feature horror film.

The movie is shot as a point of view film, as a real life account of four people who become stranded in the Pilliga Forest in northern NSW.

One by one they are hunted down by a creature known as the Jingra.

Millerd said the project started back in 2005 when he was talking with his cousin Tracey Gaynor about an experience she had some 20 years ago with a friend and two men in the Pilliga forest.

They had gone on a midnight road trip to see an old hermit friend of the two men, his name was Old Man Grosser and it was thought that he had lived in the Pilliga for more than 70 years in an old humpy.

The men played tricks on the girls and pretended to be the Pilliga Yowie.

"When Tracey told me this story I was captivated and thought about all the other things that have gone on in this region - numerous Yowie creature sightings, encounters with the Pilliga Princess - an old lady who wandered the forest and the surrounding highways as well as reports of Hairy Mary a prostitute who had also become a forest inhabitant," he said.

"In 2006 a first draft was written and it was titled Jingra at that point. Jingra is an Aboriginal term for 'Outback Yowie'. The story was originally about four pig chasing males who discover a body in the Pilliga Scrub near the Cuttabri Shanty.

"Between 2007 and 2008 numerous drafts were written, however the script was largely put on the back burner as other projects gained more momentum. It wasn't until 2010 when the script was revisited by Dane Millerd and Paul Denham that it was changed from the original idea to that of two men and two women. Along with additional writer Amy Slessor and with some assistance from Greg Hamilton and Charles Silvestro, the film was shaped into the current script and was finalised in February 2011.

"The title was also changed to There's Something In The Pilliga as we believed the film was not just about the Jingra, but about the people and region."

The film is being screened in NSW in January see SomethingInThePilliga for more information on sessions.

Topics:  transport truck truckie

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