Baz Luhrmann Talks About His Inspirations for Australia
Baz Luhrmann's latest epic romance, Australia, finally hits theaters this week, which should be quite exciting for those who've been anxiously awaiting its release. Those who decide to spend three hours basking in the beauty of Australia may be curious where Luhrmann got some of his inspiration for such a vivid epic. The guys over at CHUD caught up with him recently and talked briefly about his inspirations, including specifically classic westerns like John Wayne's Red River. Luhrmann also references Gone with the Wind, Giant, and From Here to Eternity as key inspirations for Australia, mentioning that he "tried to wink to them a little bit." But that's not all - he's got more to say about his inspirations.
In addition to those films, Luhrmann says that directors like David Lean (of Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia), John Ford (of Stagecoach and The Grapes of Wrath), and George Stevens (of A Place in the Sun and Giant) all inspired him as well. "When you think about some of those central Hollywood-based directors, they're really grand storytellers." Australia is in essence a western about a cattle drive, but as you'll discover whilst watching, it's also so much more than just that. While I wouldn't exactly qualify Australia as a "family film" by any means, Luhrmann goes on to reminisce about the days of past where it wasn't about demographics, but instead it was about films that were a feast for everyone.
"When I was young there was this genre of cinema, and you all went to it. You laughed, you cried, you swooned, there was action. It was all one big banquet of cinema that everyone could come to." … "When I was a kid I saw cinema that was a Thanksgiving banquet. Grammy could say, 'After Thanksgiving dinner we're all going to the movies!' And everybody could go and everybody got something out of it. That's considered deeply uncool now. Deeply uncool to even talk about it. The old people can't be with the young people. There's no mechanism to sell films like this anymore. But honestly what we'd love to happen is invite all of America to Australia for Thanksgiving."
It's not coincidental that Luhrmann's Australia is hitting theaters the day before Thanksgiving this week. And after seeing the film, I want to visit Australia too, and I'm glad it was finally Baz who invited me. I know there are a lot of people out there who love his work, which is why it's so interesting to hear him talk about these inspirations. Additionally, his statement about how that genre of film no longer exists, and can't even really be mentioned, is sad to hear. Especially when Australia is an exquisite modern day example of a film just like that. I'm not sure how many people will walk out calling it a masterpiece, but I'm sure most will walk out at least astonished and awe-struck by the epic beauty that Luhrmann was able to capture. And for that alone, Australia, and Baz too, definitely deserve to be admired and respected.