Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles : Production Notes

"Crocodile Dundee. .. " began principal photography on Australia's Gold Coast, before moving to Los Angeles for the duration of filming. Despite the fact that Hogan had repeatedly said there wouldn't be another installment of Mick Dundee, Hogan actually began to miss him. "I wondered what he was doing with himself."

"Then, for probably the last three years, I've been saying that if I woke up with a really good idea then maybe I might," he laughs. "And here we are. This time Mick thinks he's a bit more cosmopolitan because he's spent a month in New York ('Crocodile Dundee I & II'), but of course he's really still exactly the same."

"I lived in Los Angeles for a couple of years," Hogan admitted, "and realized what a strange, unreal sort of place it was. Eventually, the penny dropped that this is the place to bring Mick Dundee--because he's so grounded and the unreality of the city, he's a perfect contrast to it. And then Mick realizes he's a dying breed, you know. There aren't crocodile hunters anymore. It's illegal now. So he's little more than tourist guide and a crocodile wrangler. And he's thinking he might find something more interesting to do as he joins Sue Charlton on her trip to Los Angeles. "

It was a new experience for director Wincer, who had not worked on the first two "Dundees. " "I was sort of the new boy on the block," Wincer recalls, "and I'm here with Paul Hogan who's a friend and he's a producer, writer and the star. But this film is a little different from the other two in that the first was a romantic comedy, and the second was kind of an action/adventure/romance, and this one is very much a comedy."

"I think Paul has grown as an actor," his director states. "He's very professional and he knows what he wants. He knows what's funny, and has a great sense of timing, so as a writer, he knows what he wants out of a scene. And even if there's some tinkering with a particular scene, most of the laughs come from what he's originally created on paper. "

Hogan returns the compliment to his director by announcing that Wincer actually does "have a sense of humor. There's an ambiance that a director sets, so you can't have a screaming, raving prima donna yelling at you and then say 'Okay, be funny. '" Hogan simply finds the atmosphere regularly established by Wincer as conducive to comedy.

The director, who had been a friend of the Hogans for years, had always admired the theater-trained quality that Linda Kozlowski brings to any piece. "She's very disciplined, she knows all the words and she always has good ideas. In short," Wincer smiles, "she's a dream to work with. "

Linda Kozlowski remembers reading the early draft of the script "and having the giggles," but admits to "torturing" the film's writer at home. "I would say I don't think Sue would say that," she smiles. "An American woman doesn't talk like that. I would put my two cents in, and he appreciates that as an Aussie man, he doesn't always get it right with Sue. " But in describing Hogan's comfort with his creation, "I think the character was born within him. There's a certain Australian easy-going thing that is def'mitely there. But Mick Dundee is more outgoing and Paul's a little bit more reserved, and thank goodness, more sophisticated," she laughs. "We don't have any knives stuck in our walls or possums on our table. "

With Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski in place, the search was on to find Mikey, a young boy who would portray their 10-year-old son. "We went to all the normal channels of find young boy actors in Australia, you know," Wincer adds, "through casting agencies and little ads in the classified sections trying to keep it from the entertainment media. But two weeks before we were to shoot, I hadn't found anyone that I was happy with so we gave the story to the three major Australian newspapers. "

At an open call the following Saturday, 5500 boys, and parents, showed up between Melbourne, Sidney, and Brisbane. Serge Cockburn's parents made a tape telling the child that it was a souvenir for his grandparents and sent it instead to the casting office. The production arranged to have him brought to Sydney and as soon as Winter saw him, he had the part. "I prefer to work with kids who haven't done anything before because they don't come in with a bag of tricks," he laughs. "They're very unaware of what's going around them technically and if they're bright, and Serge is a very bright kid, it's not hard to teach them the acting bit."

The director describes Alec Wilson who play Mick's mate Jacko as "the real thing. Alec is a part-time actor and a full-time farmer. But it's not just a farm, it's a ranch, and it's not just a ranch, but it's a half million acres and he runs six thousand head of cattle. And he has a real bush accent. "

Wincer believes that everyone you cast "brings something else to the table, helping to make the mix even better. Occasionally," he explains, "you have character moments that turn out to be great, like when we worked with the comic talents of Paul Rodriguez and Aida Turturro. You watch wonderful actors like those work, and you just keep on wanting to add more and more moments."

"Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" was pushed along by producer Lance Hool, who had worked with Hogan on Flipper (1996) as the executive producer.

The 1996 film, co-starred Elijah Wood, and had Perry Katz as a producer and Conrad Hool as the co-producer. "I kept on bugging him," Lance Hool confides, "that he should do a third story. People loved the character of Mick Dundee and they missed him. Then after all this bugging," Hool laughs, "he came up with a very good idea. Just bring him to Los Angeles. "

Hogan started writing the script, which took about a year to complete and then agreed to make the film, according to Hool, only if he could do it the way he did the first one, which was totally independently. This wasn't an issue with Hool, who had produced over 21 feature films with only five of them financed by a studio. "I've always been an independent," Hool declares, "it gives you a lot of freedom, and we live or die by ourselves. "

Locations in Australia included the fictional Walkabout Creek, set in the tiny outback town of McKinlay, with a population of 20. This was the birthplace of the original "Crocodile Dundee" film.

Although there isn't a place called Walkabout Creek, McKinlay is the home to the Walkabout Creek Hotel, which is not actually a hotel but a small community pub.

Another outback pub this one in the Northern Territory has also benefited from its connection to the movie--via Charlie the Water Buffalo. Charlie became a cultural treasure following his role in the original film where Mick faces down the animal just as it's about to charge him. For years Charlie lived next to the Adelaide River Inn and was a popular attraction for tourists who enjoyed having their pictures taken on his back. Earlier this year, Charlie died of old age, but a local taxidermist has ensured that Charlie will continue to welcome visitors to the outback pub for years to come.

For the swimming hole scene in Australia, where we see Mick and his pal Jacko attempt to catch a large crocodile, the production designer, Lesley Binns, and the art department constructed a giant eucalyptus tree. It had to blend into the existing greenery as well as provide a branch strong enough for the two cast members to sit on and then "break" at the appropriate moment. For some of the interiors and for the studio tour sequence, the production used the Warner Roadshow Studios in Queensland to double for the Paramount backlot.

The company traveled to Los Angeles and started a four-week shoot on September 18th, 2000. Director Simon Wincer and locations manager David Thornsberry scouted the various sites that would be used in the film before shooting started in Australia. The Beverly Hills elementary school that young Mikey attends was actually a converted mansion turned into an active Pasadena elementary school.

For the Beverly Hills shopping location, the production went straight to the heart of the fabled area and used the cobblestoned 2 Rodeo Plaza that's home to some of the world's most elegant shops

Finding an ultra modern house in Beverly Hills was a challenge when every other style or mixed style of architecture is preferred. But a house was secured on the comer of Hillcrest and Sunset Boulevard, not far from another location, the Beverly Park across Sunset from the famed green and pink Beverly Hills Hotel.

Other Los Angeles locations used as background for Mick Dundee's difficult and amusing adjustment to the city were Hollywood Boulevard, the nearby Pinot Restaurant, Century City, the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and the Venice beachfront.

In order to close a stretch of the Glendale freeway for a pivotal scene where Mick and Mikey stop traffic thinking they're saving a dog. The police, who appear on the scene with squad cars and helicopters, think they've located a bomb. This meant months of negotiations with the city and the state. And it was only at the last minute that the permit office allowed the shutdown and gave their approval for the company to land three helicopters.

The last argument that the Caltrans office leveled at the production company was that the Dodgers baseball team had games that weekend and shutting down this particular stretch of freeway would disturb the flow. Locations manager Thomsberry's argument that won the day, was that the Dodgers didn't have a shot at making the playoffs this year and the fans are staying away in droves. The declining fan attendance numbers won the day

Mick Dundee's Tips For Surviving The Australian Outback

What do you do if a crocodile attacks?

I'd hypnotize it. Anyone else should run in a zig-zag as crocs can only run fast in a straight line.

Tricks for starting a fire?

Matches. Or else get two twigs and rub them together very, very hard. You won't start a fire but it'll keep you warm doing all that rubbing.


Venomous spiders. How do you approach them?

Very carefully. The big ones are edible once you get rid of the poison. They taste like chicken.

That's what the bushmen say. But according to them, everything tastes like chicken.

What do you do if you run out of food and water?

Find a McDonalds. They're everywhere.

How do you get help from strangers?

Feed them. But if they're women, make sure it's low calorie.