Filming of Netflix series God’s Favorite Idiot has ended early in the Northern Rivers after star and producer Melissa McCarthy was rumoured to have returned to the USA.
Halting the planned production at around half its 16 episode run has also impacted an estimated 300 Australian cast and crew members.
This comes despite the production attracting some $10m funding from federal and state government incentives.
A spokesperson for Australia’s communications and arts minister, Paul Fletcher, told Guardian Australia no funding had yet been paid to Netflix.
“A final report on the production … has yet to be provided to the Office for the Arts which administers the location incentive on behalf of the government,” the spokesperson said.
“Under standard practice of the location incentive funding, final payment is only made once final Australian expenditure is incurred on the production.”
Location incentives from Create NSW’s Made in NSW fund are also conditional on meeting agreed performance criteria.
In the series McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone plays a mid-level Tech support employee who finds love with co-worker Amily Luck (McCarthy) at exactly the same time he becomes the unwitting messenger of God.
TV Tonight understands Netflix has decided to move 16 eps to 2 x 8 episodes with filming having wrapped in Australia on the first 8 eps.
Sources denied rumours the production was due to Melissa McCarthy returning to the US or future quarantine in Australia. Government incentives are likely to be less based on actual production undertaken.
It is unclear where filming of the second batch will take place.
Netflix said in a statement, “We’ve wrapped production on eight episodes of God’s Favorite Idiot, which will premiere next year. Australia has been so welcoming to all of us and we’re thankful for their hospitality. We’re grateful to our creative partners Ben and Melissa, along with our amazing cast and crew for their hard work and dedication to bring this show to life.”
Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy added, “We are so sad to leave Australia, as it has truly felt like home to us this past year. We were so lucky to have had the best, hardest working Australian cast and crew. We are so proud of God’s Favorite Idiot and cannot wait to share it with everyone.“