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Giannopoulos a global ‘Wannabes’

Oz's 'Wog' team eyes int'l mart with laffer

SYDNEY — Nick Giannopoulos, who starred in, produced and co-wrote the Oz B.O. hit “The Wog Boy,” is a wannabe director — and he’ll soon get his chance.

Giannopoulos will helm — as well as topline — “The Wannabes,” a comedy about a wannabe actor who teams up with a small-time thief who wants to pull off the world’s biggest heist.

Pic, co-written by Giannopoulos and Chris Anastassiades (who together penned “Wog Boy”), is slated to roll in Melbourne in October, with Giannopoulos and Tom Burstall producing for the former’s G.O. Films banner.

‘Wog’ watch

The Macquarie Film Corp. and private investors brought in by G.O. Films are financing the project. Several Oz distribs, including Hoyts, are angling for local rights, hoping for a repeat of “Wog Boy,” which grossed a handsome $A11.4 million ($6.2 million) for 20th Century Fox in 2000.

A parochial laffer about a Greek immigrant’s efforts to succeed with girls, cars and politics, “Wog Boy” didn’t travel well outside Oz, so this time the filmmakers are “aiming for much broader appeal internationally,” said Andrew Penney, exec producer of “Wannabes.”

Tax scheme done

Pic marks the last of eight backed by Macquarie Film Corp. using a government-licensed investment scheme giving investors a 100% tax writeoff that expired June 30.

Macquarie invested a total of $8.5 million to support those films, including “Dirty Deeds” (which bowed successfully Down Under on Thursday ), “Danny,” “Crackerjack,” “Horseplay” and “Bad Eggs.”

The government is reviewing the investment scheme before deciding whether to issue new licenses. Macquarie Film Corp. chairman Charles Wheeler, who is due to meet with Arts Minister Rod Kemp next month, said Macquarie is keen to use the scheme again if the government opts to renew it.

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