Priscilla, Queen of the Desert sequel in works with original cast, director confirms

<span>Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Director Stephan Elliott confirmed he has written a sequel which is in development.</span><span>Photograph: Polygram/Allstar</span>
Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Director Stephan Elliott confirmed he has written a sequel which is in development.Photograph: Polygram/Allstar

A sequel to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is in the works, director Stephan Elliott has confirmed, with the film’s stars Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving “onboard” to come back.

Elliott confirmed to Guardian Australia that he will serve as director, writer and producer on the sequel and that the script has been finished. The 1994 original starred Weaving, Pearce and Stamp as drag queens who drive a bus – the titular Priscilla – from Sydney to Alice Springs.

All three are “onboard” to return as Tick/Mitzi Del Bra (Weaving), Adam/Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Pearce) and Bernadette Bassenger (Stamp), Elliott confirmed, but said negotiations are continuing with production companies and financiers.

Elliott said he had been reluctant to make a sequel but he began realising that “I had something that needed to be said”.

“People have been screaming for me to do this for 30 years. And suddenly I had the realisation that we’re all getting old. We’re losing people,” Elliott said. “And with Trump coming in now – it’s all about to erupt again. Somebody said to me, ‘Is this the right time to make this film?’ I said, ‘It is the perfect time to make this film.’

Related: The 30-year hunt to find the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert bus: ‘My jaw was on the ground’

“People think of the original film as a lot of costumes and music and great fun, but it’s also a dagger in the heart. I’m not going to do just tits and feathers.”

He said that though Stamp is now 85 years old, “Terence is the fittest man I’ve ever met in my life. He has never drunk and basically eats grass. It took him a long time to think about it until he got there, but eventually he said to me, ‘You know what? You’re right. We’re not finished yet. The story is untold.’”

The story will be partly set in Australia but Elliott said it will also head overseas.

“You have to remember that Tick had a kid – now that kid has grown up and now he’s got his own family,” he added. “We have our three principals, but we have to build in the new world.”

Elliott said the script has taken him five years to write, but it took the death of his father and mother, in 2020 and 2023 respectively, to make him buckle down and finish it.

“This is not a dire story, it is pretty extravagant. I’m going to give RuPaul a run for her money, let me tell you that,” he added. “But I don’t want to repeat myself, so it’s taken me a long while to come up with something, to realise that there’s something that needs to be said about tolerance.”

The announcement of a sequel, first revealed in Deadline, comes soon after Guardian Australia revealed that the bus used in the original film had been found in remote New South Wales, 30 years after it disappeared.

The History Trust of South Australia is now restoring the vehicle to the state it was in the film, having been damaged years out in the open and by bushfires and floods. Elliott has confirmed “the bus will feature” in his film.

“When the bus surfaced it felt like, is this some kind of celestial lineup?” he added. “There’s lots of work to be done. But we’re off.”