Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baz Lurhmann's Australia

I'm going to have a casual little off the cuff boast about a couple of things ... In the 80s and 90s I used to go to the theatre all the time. Way before many Aussie actors made it big on the silver screen, I was watching them on stage. Amongst others, I saw Nicole Kidman play the Julie Roberts' role of Shelby in Steel Magnolias. I saw Mel Gibson play Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. I saw Hugh Jackman play Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (he also played the lead male role in Sunset Boulevard but that only had a Melbourne season and didn't make it to Sydney), and I saw the original stage production of Strictly Ballroom which I believe was co-written and also directed by the amazing Baz Luhrmann whose work I think is marvelous. His version of Romeo and Juliet just rocked. Now he's on the cusp of releasing his new film Australia. I saw the trailer the other day. It looks good. I liked its old Movietone News font. Just one little squabble I have with Baz baby – he gazumped me on one of his film locations. I used it as a key location for a visionary fiction book I have written, only to find that he's used it in his new film. The location in question is a historic house called Camelot, which was built in Camden, New South Wales in 1885. Now, I ADORE this house. It inspires me and I somehow feel connected to it. I often drive past just to look at it. In the late 80s or early 90s it was open for one rainy weekend to the public. I sloshed through the flooded front garden and took rolls and rolls of film of its staircases, ceilings and rooms. Shortly after, I also attended an auction where it sold for something like $2.3 million. The real estate agent looked at me and saw the desire in my eyes. He said it was a house for princesses. I don't necessarily agree with that assessment – I think it is more worthy of a Jane Austen heroine (even though the period isn't right) because the house has a lot of character and moodiness. Anyway, you'll probably get to see it first on screen before your read about it in my book, so all I can say is – damn you Baz! I wanted to keep that house for my own selfish creative purposes. In the meantime, go and check out the Australia trailer for yourself on YouTube and make up your own mind. I still think Baz has got the golden touch.

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