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Catherine's Coast stay began Aussie love affair

Renee Redmond

THE last time Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones was in Australia, she was on the Gold Coast to film The Phantom.

Although more than 11 years had passed, Zeta-Jones yesterday still had fond memories of her time here.

Dressed in a skin-tight fuchsia Roberto Cavalli dress with cream Jimmy Choo heels, the Welsh beauty wowed the media and the public alike at the Sydney Opera House.

Commenting on the stuffiness of the media conference room, Zeta-Jones asked: "Is it hot in here or is it just me?"

"It's you!" cried the men in the media contingent.

During the media conference to promote her new film, Death Defying Acts, by Australian director Gillian Armstrong, she expressed her desire to make more movies Down Under.

Zeta-Jones, who is in Sydney for only three days, said she hoped to come back soon to make a movie.

"I did a movie here years and years ago playing a little part in The Phantom and I really loved working here," she said. "I really got to see a bit of Australia so I would love to come back and do a movie some time."

The 38-year-old actor said she worked well with Australians.

Her new film, which stars Aussie actor Guy Pearce, follows the recent release of South Australian director Scott Hicks' film No Reservations, in which she plays the lead.

"I think there is a great camaraderie with us Aussies and Brits," she told reporters.

"I felt very much at home."

Even back in 1996, Zeta-Jones was turning heads during her visit to the Gold Coast for The Phantom, in which she was cast to play the sultry aviatrix-turned-pirate Sala.

The movie featured a mammoth film set of a pirate's cave. Costing $50 million, it was built at Warner Roadshow Studios at Oxenford.

The Bulletin quoted Zeta-Jones at the time admitting she had not read the original Phantom comics.

"I never read it but when I first got the part Simon (director Simone Wincer) gave us some of the original comics and I read up on it," she said.

Hot ... Catherine Zeta-Jones in Sydney yesterday

Hot ... Catherine Zeta-Jones in Sydney yesterday


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