In the world of cinema, few directors embrace the challenge of ambitious projects like Baz Luhrmann. Known for his work on acclaimed films such as 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Elvis,' Luhrmann's 2008 romantic epic 'Australia,' starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, stands out as a testament to his resilience and creativity in the face of daunting challenges.
Fifteen years after its release, Luhrmann revisits the landscapes and themes of 'Australia' in the reimagined six-part limited series 'Faraway Downs,' which premiered on Hulu on Sunday, November 26. This series marks a reflective journey for Luhrmann, who, in a recent interview with Variety, opened up about the formidable obstacles he faced during the film's production.
Australia's Production Challenges
The making of 'Australia' was fraught with unprecedented setbacks. The film's production witnessed rare equine flu affecting set-trained horses and the filming location receiving its first major rainfall in 150 years.
These unforeseen circumstances tested Luhrmann's patience to its limits. "I often tell people that if you are having trouble with vegetation and need things to grow, just have me come make a movie there. You’re guaranteed rain," Luhrmann humorously remarked, reflecting on the difficulties he faced.
Set against the backdrop of World War II, 'Australia' weaves a captivating narrative. Nicole Kidman stars as Lady Sarah Ashley, a sophisticated British expatriate who forms an unlikely alliance with Hugh Jackman's rugged cattle drover to rescue her late husband's floundering cattle farm, Faraway Downs.
The film gains emotional depth with the inclusion of Brandon Walters as Nullah, a spirited Aboriginal child, who leads Lady Ashley to embrace the untamed spirit of the Australian outback. Despite not achieving commercial success in the United States, 'Australia' remains a significant entry in Luhrmann's illustrious career.
His directorial prowess, evident in his later successes like 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Elvis,' showcases his ability to craft visually stunning and emotionally resonant cinematic experiences. As 'Faraway Downs' brings a new perspective to the story of 'Australia,' viewers can anticipate another extraordinary journey through Luhrmann's visionary lens, further solidifying his status as a master storyteller in the film industry.