Hugh Jackman is one of great musical actors of our time, as evidenced by his multiple Tony Awards and Oscar nomination for his musical performance in Wretched. He also worked with Baz Luhrmann, the writer / director who relaunched cinematic musical with his 2001 film Red Mill! What I’ve always found ironic and humorous, however, is that Jackman’s role in Luhrmann’s film Australia is about as non-musical as it gets. The good news is that both icons are desperate for a remake.
I recently spoke with Baz Luhrmann to celebrate the two The Red Mill 20th anniversary and Moulin Rouge: musicals Tony’s record number of wins. He and Hugh Jackman are good friends and both Australians, which is why they are working together on Australia, and when I asked if they were ever discussing working together again on a musical note, Luhrmann replied without wasting time:
No Baz Luhrmann fan could ask for a better answer. They discuss it “all the time!” All we can do now is hope that someday this will happen. As for the Oscars performance, what a delicious little anecdote. I felt like the two had never worked together in a musical capacity, but the 21st Academy Awards in 2009, hosted by Jackman, featured a huge musical medley that was a tribute to the return of cinematic musicals. It also starred Beyoncé, Amanda Seyfried of Wretched, Zac Efron from The greatest showman, and, you guessed it, a track of Red Mill! It’s not too surprising that Luhrmann was involved to some extent.
As for Australia, Hugh Jackman was not the only character to play a non-musical role. It was quite a departure for Luhrmann, not only because of the lack of song and dance, but because of the grim subject, tackling the abuse of Indigenous children in Australia before WWII. While it hasn’t exactly crushed the US box office, it is still the highest-grossing Luhrmann film in Europe, and apparently there’s more to come. He said this:
There is no word as to what this mysterious Australia the surprise is, but the project is nonetheless fascinating. Meanwhile, the two have more musical offerings in store, as Hugh Jackman is featured in an upcoming production of The man of music, and Baz Luhrmann writes and directs a next Elvis biopic. We will certainly keep you posted on the progress of these projects.