Hollywood star Tom Hanks has arrived back in Queensland after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on the Gold Coast in March in one of the world’s most high-profile cases.
And Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, just like anyone else, Hanks would be subject to random police checks to ensure he remained in quarantine.
Hanks, who has returned to finish filming an Elvis Presley biopic helmed by Baz Luhrmann on the Gold Coast, was taken straight into hotel quarantine after flying into the state on a private jet on Tuesday night.
The double Oscar-winner and other members of the crew are staying at a Gold Coast hotel that is not one of Queensland Health’s designated quarantine hotels.
The production has hired its own security so the cost of their quarantine will not be paid for by the Queensland government but the group will be subject to the same medical and police checks as people isolating in designated hotels.
The actor and his crew have hired “a number of floors” at the hotel.
Tom Hanks has touched down on the Gold Coast in Queensland to resume shooting the upcoming Elvis biopic.
Footage emerged last week of the relaxed scenes inside the Queensland AFL hub, hired out by the league, to quarantine about 400 executives, staff and families.
Health Minister Steven Miles’ office stressed that Hanks’ quarantine experience would be much different and he would not be allowed to roam freely around the hotel.
Ms Palaszczuk said Hanks and other crew members working on the film were allowed entry into Queensland under the screen industry’s COVID-safe plan.
“Under that plan they have to stay in the place for two weeks just like everybody else and they will have random checks, as my understanding, by the police,” she told Queensland Parliament on Wednesday.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Hanks should have been made to go into a designated quarantine hotel, even though his security bill would then have to be covered by taxpayers.
“The double standards are shocking – it shouldn’t be one rule for VIPs and celebrities and another rule for everyone else,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Everyday Australians don’t get to pick and choose where they quarantine and neither should celebrities.”
Production on the movie, which was in pre-production at Village Roadshow Studios, was halted in March after Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for coronavirus.
Work on the film was expected to ramp up again at the end of September after Luhrmann spent months liaising with health authorities.
Hanks and Wilson spent time in a Gold Coast COVID isolation ward before heading back to the US.
Following his time in quarantine, Australians had to school Hanks on the appropriate use of Vegemite following an Instagram post that featured some dubiously thick spreading.
“I don’t mind the Vegemite – but I found out I was putting way too much of it on my toast because I thought it was a volume business,” he said in July, while teasing his return.
“There are dates on the calendar that say maybe we will be making this movie in October, but all of that stuff is a ‘maybe’ as questions about quarantine and temperatures and sterilising soundstages and all of that go on.”
No other cast, crew or production staff were deemed to have been infected by the pair before they were rushed into their Gold Coast isolation.
Their earlier movements sparked concerns across Sydney after visits to the Opera House, restaurants and the Nine studios, sending some into quarantine.