/News 31.01.24

Brisbane goes global in Netflix’s Boy Swallows Universe

The capital city of Brisbane stars in Netflix’s hit series Boy Swallows Universe, providing an authentic and aesthetic backdrop to this uniquely gritty and whimsical Queensland story.

The popular seven-part series is an adaptation of the international best-selling novel by Trent Dalton, and the production colourfully and meticulously recreates its 1980s sub-tropical suburban setting.

Produced by Brouhaha Entertainment, Anonymous Content and Chapter One, Boy Swallows Universe filmed across Brisbane and surrounding South East Queensland locations, with the support of Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy and Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Incentive.  Screen Queensland Studios, Brisbane also proudly provided sound stages and support facilities.

On set of Boy Swallows Universe at Screen Queensland Studios, Brisbane. Photo courtesy of Netflix, Brouhaha Entertainment, Anonymous Content and Chapter One.

The narrative of Boy Swallows Universe places specific Brisbane suburbs and iconic local sites at the epicenter of the drama. Highlight locations featured in both the book and the series include Boggo Road Gaol (Jail), the Story Bridge and Brisbane City Hall.

Boggo Road Gaol. Photo by Matt Makes Photos.
The Story Bridge. Photo courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.
Brisbane City Hall and King George Square. Photo courtesy of Visit Brisbane.
Brisbane City Hall foyer. Photo by Kgbo.

Brisbane City Hall, situated alongside spacious King George Square, was a key location for the climactic series finale. Its spectacular neoclassical facade, ornate art deco foyer and grand auditorium can also be seen in international productions Ticket to Paradise, Harrow, Inspector Gadget 2 and The Phantom.

Boy Swallows Universe is my very deep and personal love letter to my city of Brisbane. I’m so incredibly honoured to know the Queensland Government and Screen Queensland is helping us mail that letter around the world.” 

Trent Dalton, Author and Executive Producer

“Brisbane is such a key character in Boy Swallows Universe that Queensland was always the first-choice location for us to bring to life on screen the evocative and uniquely Australian universe that Trent created.”

Que Minh Luu, Director of Content, Netflix ANZ

“I love, love Brisbane. It was just such a nice period of my life … Big fan of Brisbane.”

Phoebe Tonkin, Actor

Suburban, rural and industrial locations across Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast formed the distinct visual language of Boy Swallows Universe ― immersing audiences in the Bell family’s turbulent yet tender suburban life in Darra. The production made particular use of leafy, established neighbourhoods, with characteristic “Queenslander” timber houses and stucco workers’ cottages.

On location in Brisbane for Boy Swallows Universe. Photo courtesy of Netflix, Brouhaha Entertainment, Anonymous Content and Chapter One.
On location in the City of Gold Coast for Boy Swallows Universe. Photo courtesy of Netflix, Brouhaha Entertainment, Anonymous Content and Chapter One.
Rocky Point Sugar Mill, City of Gold Coast. Photo by Kerry Raymond.

West of Brisbane in the Darling Downs and Western Downs regions, Jimbour House and its manicured gardens brought villain Tytus Broz’s mansion from the page to the screen. The vintage, rustic Exchange Hotel in Jandowae also transported audiences back in time.

Jimbour House. Photo by David Chatfield, courtesy of Jimbour House.
The Exchange Hotel, Jandowae. Photo by Matt via Flickr.

On January 9 2024, Brisbane proudly hosted the series’ World Premiere ahead of its launch to 190 countries. Boy Swallows Universe debuted at #5 on Netflix’s Global Top 10 watchlist, reaching the Top 10 in 47 countries, including Australia, the US and UK in its first few days of release.

The world premiere of Boy Swallows Universe in Brisbane. L-R: Author and Executive Producer Trent Dalton and cast members Simon Baker, Phoebe Tonkin, Felix Cameron, Lee Tiger Halley, Bryan Brown and Travis Fimmel. Photo courtesy of Netflix. 

Watch the trailer for the series below:

For more information about Screen Queensland incentives and location services, contact: 

Naomi Wenck
Head of Production Attraction
+61 7 3248 0500

To enquire about Screen Queensland Studios, Brisbane and Screen Queensland Studios, Cairns which opens this year, contact: 

Mark Melrose
Head of Studios and Physical Production
+61 401 965 083