If you're making an epic film about the World War II experience in Australia and you need to cast a hardass actor in the leading role, one name immediately springs to mind: Russell Crowe.
But then, Russell Crowe is a bit of a diva and a control freak, and he'd probably want to sing his terrible songs all through shooting, so who's next on the list? That's right – Hugh Jackman. That exact scenario has just played out for director Baz Luhrmann, who was making a film with Russell Crowe until he demanded more scenes where the protagonist took on the entire might of the Nazi forcess armed only with a telephone, ceramic vase and a misjudged belief in his own karate ability. Or something.
Baz Luhrmann is making a film in Australia. Chances are it'll be exactly the same as Moulin Rouge, only we're told it's an Australian wartime epic and not a frilly story about Obi Wan Kenobe singing Elton John songs at Nicole Kidman in a French tourist magnet until she coughs up some blood and dies. But, you know, more or less the same.
Luhrmann had originally cast Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman for his untitled epic movie, but Russell Crowe was being his usual demanding self and asking for script approval and whatnot. Which, as annoyances go, is a step down from smashing up a member of the service industy's face with a hotel telephone, but it was still enough for him to get the shove from the Luhrmann movie. And now Crowe's replacement has been named – it's Wolverine!
Hugh Jackman, star of the X-Men movies, part time theatre monkey and not at all everyone's favourite Russell Crowe understudy, has now been drafted to star alongside massive helicopter fan Nicole Kidman. Baz Luhrmann explained the reason for Hugh Jackman replacing Russell Crowe to Variety:
"As we tried to bring the budget to the right place and arrange
shooting in the capricious weather in northern Australia, it was
necessary that the studio (Fox) and the actor come to a resolution.
They got close, but when it came to a point where it was not resolved,
the No1 thing to do was set an actor in that role."
The film, by the way, is all about a posh woman trying to move some cows from one farm to another until she gets bombed by some Japanese people. So just like Moulin Rouge, then.
[story by Stuart Heritage]