Martin Freeman went to Australia expecting to survive the zombie apocalypse. What the English star of Sherlock and The Hobbit didn't count on was the mozzies.

"I don't really like them very much," Freeman told News Corp Australia yesterday. "I've been bitten to buggery the last couple of days. They're really big - prehistoric mosquitoes. They drive me nuts. And the flies ... I couldn't do it, I'm too much of a Pom."

The actor was speaking on the set of his new movie Cargo, currently filming in coastal scrubland outside of Adelaide.

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Based on a Tropfest short film entry that attracted millions of online views internationally, and directed by first-timers Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, Cargo is the story of a father bitten by a zombie who is determined to find a safe haven for his baby daughter before he, too, transforms.

Rather than a zombie thriller, writer-director Ramke describes Cargo as parallel stories of "parental love - one between a father and his baby and the other between a young Aboriginal girl and her father".

That was a key distinction for Freeman - the leading man wouldn't have travelled half way around the world for a zombie thriller.

"I would never have done a zombie film in a million years, I mean truly, in a million years. I said that to them. The world doesn't need another zombie film, it really doesn't. But I just don't think this is one.

"First and foremost, it was a father-daughter thing. That's what got me. It's a human story and I like those ... I think I'm quite good in those."

Freeman's indigenous counterpart is played by 11-year-old novice Simone Landers.

He has also been paired with two sets of twins playing baby Rosie and, though he's spent much of his camera time wandering the barren outback, he's never been working alone.

Martin Freeman and his double filming Cargo in Australia. Photo / Martin Freeman Instagram
Martin Freeman and his double filming Cargo in Australia. Photo / Martin Freeman Instagram

"When you've got a baby with you, it's never solo. If they want to be in the scene, they're gonna be in the scene - shouting, joining in," he said.

After moving the production to the outback mining town of Leigh Creek, almost 600kms north of Adelaide, Cargo has returned south and will spend the last days of its 6 ½ week schedule shooting in and around the city.

Filming began on the Murray River at Blanchetown.

Freeman won't stick around to do the tourist thing before he departs - he still has two other films to make in the UK before Christmas.

Martin Freeman in Leigh Creek, Australia filming Cargo. Photo / Bayley Brooke Peake Facebook
Martin Freeman in Leigh Creek, Australia filming Cargo. Photo / Bayley Brooke Peake Facebook

"There's no time for any of that unfortunately. I mean, I like seeing kangaroos and emus and all that, that's been great. I haven't met a koala yet, but I hope to. As a foreigner, seeing kangaroos and emus on the way to work is really nice.

"So far, the shoot has been very, very Aussie - it's been a shoot many Aussies wouldn't see because not everyone makes a trek to Leigh Creek, you know what I mean? It's quite unique."

Freeman's grown-up co-stars on Cargo include Susie Porter and David Gulpilil.

The movie will reach cinemas in 2017.