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AUSTRALIA

The Faraway Of The Faraway
An epic tale of transformation, love and adventure, AUSTRALIA unfolds on the continent that director Baz Luhrmann sees as the world's last great frontier. "To the rest of the world, Australia is the faraway of the faraway,” he says. "There's a great line in the beginning of ‘Out of Africa,' when Karen Blixen finds out that her husband is having an affair and she says, ‘I've got to get away, I'll go anywhere. Africa, Australia…well, maybe not Australia.'”

Luhrmann grew up in a small lumber town in northern New South Wales, where his family ran a farm, the local gas station and, for a short time, the movie theater. "The movie musical was a great childhood love of mine, but I was also a big fan of the historical epic,” he says. "Epics were the kind of movies that you would hear about for weeks before the films actually arrived, and every single person in town would go to see them. You can imagine the impression made on a small boy in rural Australia by films like ‘Lawrence of Arabia' and ‘Ben Hur' – big, romantic adventures set in distant, exotic locales where the landscape amplified the inner emotional journeys of the characters.”

Particularly appealing to Luhrmann was the idea of creating an epic film set in his homeland that, like the classics that so influenced him in childhood, would have broad appeal across all generations of people around the world. "When watching these kinds of films, from ‘Gone with the Wind' and ‘Ben-Hur' to ‘Lawrence of Arabia' and ‘Titanic,' the audience was communing in one big motion picture experience,” he observes. "I wanted to create a cinematic work that would be similarly inclusive because I feel passionately about having more inclusiveness in our lives. Bringing people together brings comfort to the heart and soul in this unpredictable world.”

In the tradition of films like "Casablanca,” "Titanic” and "Oklahoma,” Luhrmann's AUSTRALIA is a metaphor for the feelings of mystery, romance and excitement conjured by a distant, exotic place where people can transform their lives, spirits can be reborn, and love conquers all.

"This is the film I've wanted to make since I was a little girl,” says Nicole Kidman. "I grew up watching Australian actresses like Judy Davis in ‘My Brilliant Career' and Angela Punch McGregor in ‘We of the Never Never' playing wonderful characters in stories set in our country, and I dreamed of making a film here that had the passion and weight of those movies.”

"It's the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hugh Jackman says. "I hadn't done an Australian movie in eight years, so to come back and make a film of this magnitude, scale and ambition – using my own accent! – was a dream come true. Dream role, dream movie, dream cast, dream director.”

Jackman, who has known Kidman for many years (he is married to a good friend of hers), was impressed from the outset by the actress' passion for the project and her trust in Luhrmann. "Nicole was at my house for a Super Bowl party,” he remembers. "Baz had just called me about the project, and I asked Nicole if she had read this script. She said no. I said, ‘Oh, Baz said you were doing it.' She said, ‘I am.' I said, ‘But you haven't even read the script!' She said ‘You don't need to read the script, just do it. It's going to be amazing. You'll never have a better job in your life.'”

"If Baz asked me to say one line in something, I would say yes,” Kidman attests. "I believe in him. I believe in his talent. I believe in his commitment to putting beauty in the world and to his pursuit of excellence. It's a privilege to work with someone you feel completely safe with, someone who is bold and innovative and uncompromising. I won't lie and say it's easy, because it's not. It's really hard. But when you make a big story there's going to be hardship attached to it. We understood that from the beginni

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