EXCLUSIVE: George Clooney and Julia Roberts jet out of Australia as Covid outbreak brings all work on Gold Coast movie set to a halt with crew 'dropping like flies' due to virus

  • Production on Ticket To Paradise shut down after spread of Covid in Queensland
  • The George Clooney-Julia Roberts film had just two more weeks to completion 
  • Mr Clooney and Ms Roberts are understood to have flown back to the US
  • It's believed production will be halted for three months until current wave ends 

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Hollywood stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts are believed to have returned to the US after production on the film Ticket To Paradise was shut down due to Queensland's current Covid outbreak.

Daily Mail Australia understands from one source who worked on the Gold Coast set of the film that people were 'dropping like flies' due to spread of the Omicron variant in the area in recent weeks.

It's believed the film only had two weeks of shooting remaining when writer/director Ol Parker made the call for production to be paused for at least three months.

Some of those who contracted the virus worked in close proximity with Mr Clooney and Ms Roberts.  

Julia Roberts (left and George Clooney) are understood to have returned to the US after production was paused on their romantic comedy, Ticket To Paradise, being filmed in Queensland, due to the latest Covid outbreak

George Clooney (in lemon shirt) is seen on the Gold Coast during production of his rom-com with Julia Roberts, Ticket To Paradise

One source said Mr Clooney had shaved off the beard he had grown for the role before departing Australia on a flight bound for Honolulu, where he connected with another flight back to California. 

A couple of the film's key international production staff have remained in Queensland for two more weeks. 

Ironically production of the film, which is set in Bali, was moved to Australia because of fears about the number of Covid cases in Indonesia. 

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher announced in March last year that Ticket To Paradise would film in Queensland locations including the Whitsundays, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. 

In support of the film, produced by UK film-maker Working Title Films, Universal Pictures, Clooney's Smokehouse Pictures and Roberts's Red Om Films, the Federal government provided a $6.4 million grant.

Mr Fletcher said the movie would generate at least 270 jobs and inject $47 million into the local economy.

On news the big-budget production would be shot in Queensland, Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said: 'We are very lucky to have a Covid-safe destination where people can film right now and luckily not be subjected to delays or shutdowns and as well they can have an amazing lifestyle while they're here.'

George Clooney and wife Amal, with twins Ella and Alexander, pictured boarding a private jet bound for Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays, during production of a Ticket To Paradise

Mr Clooney and Ms Roberts dined at upmarket Brisbane establishment Calile Hotel just before Christmas

Julia Roberts (left) is seen at The Calile Hotel with George Clooney's wife, Amal (right)

Ticket To Paradise was due for release in October this year, with high expectations for its success because of the reuniting of Clooney and Roberts after box-office successes Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve in the early 2000s.

They also starred together in the 2016 crime thriller, Money Monster, directed by fellow actor, Jodie Foster.    

The plot of Ticket To Paradise sees Clooney and Roberts as a divorced couple who, on hearing their daughter plans to get married in Bali, race to the island to stop her from 'making the same mistake they once made'.   

Writer-director Parker formerly created The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. 

Mr Clooney relocated to Australia in October with his human rights lawyer wife Amal and the couple's five-year-old twins, Alexander and Ella, completing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period at a sprawling NSW Southern Highlands estate.

Ms Roberts also arrived in October, spending her quarantine period at a $56.9million mansion in Sydney's Vaucluse.   

In October last year Mr Clooney, 60, told Hollywood site Deadline that he had been on a Keto-based regimen in order to drop weight for a scene in the film where he jumps shirtless into a pool.

Daily Mail Australia has approached director Ol Parker's US representative for further comment. 

Queensland enjoyed a status as one of Australia's relatively Covid-free states until it reopened its border to hotspot states on December 13 after reaching 80 per cent of its eligible population with two doses of a vaccine.

Since then new infections have grown exponentially, with 15.962 infections and a record 16 deaths announced on Tuesday. 

Forty-five people had now died in the state as a result of contracting Covid since December 13. 

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Hollywood stars Clooney and Roberts head home as local production on rom-com stops due to Covid

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