Baz Luhrmann on 'Australia'

0

Comments

Add +

Baz Luhrmann discusses his new epic movie 'Australia' starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman with Time Out Film

Why call it 'Australia'?
‘It’s no more about Australia than “Casablanca” is about Morocco. For Sarah Ashley [Nicole Kidman’s character, an Englishwoman who travels there in search of her husband], Australia is just a metaphor for this mythical, big, mysterious place. In a film like this, characters tend to find themselves on a quest, meeting extraordinary characters, passing through majestic landscapes and being transformed by the experience. I play a lot of games with that – taking the clichés, throwing them back at you.’

Your first three films – 'Strictly Ballroom', 'William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet' and 'Moulin Rouge!' were a kind of trilogy. This is apparently the first of another?
‘I stupidly said I’d do three epics. So I started working on “Alexander the Great”, with Leo DiCaprio, then Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” came up so that fell through. I was in Paris at the time, and I started wondering about home, and where my children’s home is. Given our life, it’s a bit of a travelling circus. So I went on a quest to find out where their home is, which resulted in me finding mine.’

Was yours lost?
‘Well. I didn’t know Australia in the way I know it now. I didn’t know much about the Stolen Generations [the Aboriginal children taken from their families in an attempt to deracinate them], or the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese during World War II.
I was just looking for a canvas to paint a big romance on.’

Your last film, 'Moulin Rouge!', starred Nicole Kidman too. Is she Mastroianni to your Fellini?
‘Ha! Or Maria Callas to my Visconti? Actually this is the fourth time I’ve worked with Nicole – we did an issue of Australian Vogue together and more recently the Chanel No 5 ad campaign. It’s a relationship of extraordinary force – we push each other professionally, but we’ve also been through some dramatic things. She broke up with her husband (Tom Cruise), I lost my father.’

Is she your on-screen alter ego?
‘There’s an element of me in every character. But I think her character is partly me. I mean – do I maybe, at 45, think I need to rediscover life’s possibilities, feel – through a quest, a relationship, an adventure – that I’m being reborn? Yes.’

Given the beauty of the landscape, why use CGI? A lot of your landscape shots are enhanced.

‘I wanted to use CGI as a prop. Think of “Gone with the Wind” – it’s comedy, action, drama. It moves from laughter to “I’ll never be hungry again”. But that tragic scene is played against a backdrop that is obviously painted glass – it’s an artificial world.’

Is that why it took so long? 'Moulin Rouge!' was out in 2001.

‘There was a year after that for tooling around and Oscars. Then I did “La Bohème”. And this film took four years. So I haven’t had much time off… But now I’m going walkabout. I need to reconnect to my spiritual self.’

In Australia?
‘I’m not saying. Last time I took the Trans-Siberian Railway. I took hi-tech space meals, which I traded with Mongolians for all kinds of things, and drank wine as the world went by.’

Australia’ opens on Boxing Day.

Author: Nina Caplan



Users say

0 comments


Top Stories

Meet the dream team: a preview of ‘Les Misérables’

Meet the dream team: a preview of ‘Les Misérables’

Director Tom Hooper and his cast tell us how they turned the super-musical into movie blockbuster.

Oscar predictions

Oscar predictions

The Time Out film team weighs in on the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards

January film highlights 2013

January film highlights 2013

Get ready for the big guns… Spielberg, Tarantino and Bigelow

October film highlights

October film highlights

Daniel Craig’s 007 comeback, a genius indie romcom and all the mysteries behind ‘The Shining’ unravelled.

The Time Out film debate 2012 highlights

The Time Out film debate 2012 highlights

The results of our study on the state of films and filmgoing in 2012.

Read 'Time Out film debate 2012 highlights'

Martin Freeman interview

Martin Freeman interview

'The Hobbit' actor tells us why he wouldn't have a pint with Bilbo Baggins.

Sam Mendes interview

Sam Mendes interview

Dave Calhoun speaks to the director of 'Skyfall' about the latest film in the Bond franchise.

Ang Lee interview

Ang Lee interview

The genre-hopping director tells us how he invented a new genre with 'Life of Pi'

Michael Haneke interview

Michael Haneke interview

The twice Palme d'Or-winning director discusses 'Amour'.

Read our interview with Michael Haneke

Thomas Vinterberg interview

Thomas Vinterberg interview

The Danish director talks about his powerful new drama 'The Hunt'.

Read our interview with Thomas Vinterberg'

Ten things the 'Twilight' movies did for us

Ten things the 'Twilight' movies did for us

Time Out looks back at the impact of the 'Twilight' saga.

Discover what 'Twilight' has done for us

On the set of 'Sightseers'

On the set of 'Sightseers'

Time Out heads to the Lake District to visit director Ben Wheatley on set.

Read about our visit to the 'Sightseers' set

Tim Burton interview

Tim Burton interview

The director talks about 'Frankenweenie', which he describes as 'the ultimate memory piece'.

Read our interview with Tim burton

The top ten Christmas films of 2012

The top ten Christmas films of 2012

Our pick of the best films showing over the festive period.

Read 'The top ten Christmas films of 2012'

What's your film guilty pleasure?

What's your film guilty pleasure?

Mean Girls? Dirty Dancing? Tell us your favourite film guilty pleasure.

Read 'Film guilty pleasures'

When teen stars turn serious

When teen stars turn serious

Ten young actors come of age on the silver screen.

Read 'When teen stars turn serious'

50 years of James Bond

50 years of James Bond

From Connery to Craig, we revisit all 22 Bond films.

Read '50 years of James Bond'

Paul Thomas Anderson interview

Paul Thomas Anderson interview

The director talks Scientology and working with Joaquin Phoenix.

Read the interview

Hilarious horror films

Hilarious horror films


Ten funny horror movies which went spectacularly off the rails.

Read 'Hilarious horror films'

Martin McDonagh interview

Martin McDonagh interview

The director talks psychopaths and theatre – 'my least favourite artform'.

Read the interview

Autumn horror films

Autumn horror films

We round-up the five best horror movies of Autumn 2012.

Read about this Autumn's best horror movies

On the set of Skyfall

On the set of Skyfall

Time Out visits Istanbul to see the latest Bond movie being made.

Read 'On the set of Skyfall'

Bond: then and now

Bond: then and now

Does Skyfall refresh or rehash the James Bond franchise?

Sally Potter interview

Sally Potter interview

The British director explains why 'Ginger and Rosa' is her most mainstream film yet.

Daniel Craig interview

Daniel Craig interview

'I’m almost as in demand as Brad Pitt’