Down Under and ‘Dirty’

Thesps, exex parade the red carpet together

SYDNEY — The aged emperor of Australian media wasn’t in attendance but the world premiere of “Dirty Deeds” bore Kerry Packer’s unmistakable imprint. It was synergy, Australian style.

The July 15 red carpet event doubled as the bigscreen debut of 18-month-old Nine Films and TV, a production shingle set up to feed Packer’s privately owned Hoyts circuit. It also showcased the Nine Network, a division of Packer’s majority-owned public company Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd.

Stars of the ensemble comedy joined an army of Packer brass at the central city Hoyts/Village/Greater Union multiplex and afterward at the hip Tank Nightclub.

Felix Williamson, Toni Collette, Bryan Brown (also a co-producer), Sam Neill, Sam Worthington and hot newcomer Kestie Morassi hobnobbed with an array of brass. Among them: Hoyts topper Paul Johnson, distribution chief Robert Slaviero, Nine CEO Ian Johnson, Nine Films and TV topper “Hollywood” Hugh Marks, PBL board members and reps from magazine division Australian Consolidated Press.

But with the troops marshaled at ACP’s 65 magazines, the country’s leading TV network, most-visited Web site (NineMSN) and leading cinema loop, the pic is being particularly well looked after.

Nine flagship “60 Minutes” profiled Collette and “Dirty Deeds” without any mention of her co-starring in “About a Boy,” releasing through UIP Aug. 1. A five-page feature in top-selling monthly Women’s Weekly detailed the thesp’s panic attacks, bulimia hell, plus “Dirty Deeds” and a brief mention of “About a Boy.”

Perhaps the most energetic synergy came two days later at the Melbourne preem, held at Crown Casino, the jewel in the Packer crown.

“Dirty Deeds,” produced for a reported $4 million, bowed July 18 on 190 screens.

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