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What in the world is going on with 'Australia'?

November 10, 2008 | 11:10 am

First came reports that "Australia" was still not finished with only days to go before the Nov. 18 world premiere in Sydney. Now there is word from down under that Fox forced Baz Luhrmann to SPOILER ALERT: give his big budget romance a happy ending for stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.


As per the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, the DGA- and Golden Globe-nominated director ("Moulin Rouge!") "has bowed to studio pressure and dropped the sad ending to his epic film 'Australia.' Luhrmann's initial cut of the movie, which ran for more than three hours, ended with Hugh Jackman's character, The Drover, dying in the final scenes. After disastrous reviews from test screenings, 20th Century Fox executives decided the film's final moments should be more uplifting. After intense discussions with studio executives, Luhrmann was persuaded last week to go for a more uplifting ending."

Such a dramatic shift means that the only other people to ever see that first take of the film were the audience for today's "Oprah," who attended a showing last month. However, that screening lacked all the final touches. As Luhrmann explained in a recent interview with The Australian, "We always thought it was extremely precarious. We're going to give it our all and at the moment it’s an absolutely real date. But I would not be truthful if I didn’t say it's a little like landing a jumbo jet on an aircraft carrier in a storm."

Without any early advance screenings, buzz for this Oscar hopeful has been relatively muted. Only a couple of pundits are predicting a best picture nom based on the trailers that have unspooled. However, all that could change when the film is finally seen next week. The first L.A. press screening is next Wednesday, the day after the world premiere. That is just one week before the movie opens wide stateside on Nov. 26. The L.A. press junket with the talent takes place Nov. 20 and 21 while Gotham journos see the film only hours before the New York premiere on Nov. 24.

Photo: Fox Searchlight

The comments to this entry are closed.


Does anyone know where the New York City premiere is taking place on November 24th?

As I mentioned, reshoots were September. And no one outside the film knows whether these were for the ending or not. But several of those reshoot scenes were shot publicly for a sequence taking place much earlier in the film. Whether they shot endings then, too, no one not involved with the film knows. I wasn't disputing that reshoots took place, just that they weren't done in a panic, say, last week (the way these articles tend to make it sound), and in fact were scheduled with the actors and took only a few days back in September. I've found very little to get excited about at the movies this fall, and I for one am ready to go on Mr. Luhrmann's journey with him with an open mind, and I hope audiences will take that journey the same way and not let internet hubbub direct their thinking. It likely will be the only way I ever get to go to Australia! :-)

Its well known that re-shoot's did take place well after filming had finished Rachie. Im pretty sure they would have filmed alternate endings when filming took place however for some reason Lurhmann was placed under pressure to do some re-shoots, exactly why is not known however.

One other thing about Australia's ending, or rather two things. One, is is not unusual at all for directors to film more than one ending for their films; anyone who doubts that has never seen the Director's Cut of a DVD. And this "new" ending for Australia was filmed no more recently than September; it might have been part of the reshoots done then, or it might have been done at the time the main filming was done. It was not, as has been implied by the reports, a last-minute rewrite or shooting.

Second, WHY on earth was this allowed to become news?? See the first reason above...this is not unusual, but major news outlets committing a MAJOR spoiler alert foul is! None of the online groups publishing this story made any attempt to warn readers that a spoiler about the film's ending was contained in their articles--the articles' headlines screamed it. That really is inexcusable. And that is not the fault of Mr. Luhrmann or any member of the cast or crew of Australia. They did their jobs with heart and to the best of their ability, and it is a shame that they have to bear this weight now.

There actually has been at least one other advance screening in the U.S., at the Mall of America several weeks ago, a fact that was publicized afterward by Baz himself. The buzz from that was mostly positive. Most of those people honored the confidentiality statement they were asked to sign with only a couple of people blogging about the experience.



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