Last night The Envelope‘s Scott Feinberg managed to get on the phone with Australia director Baz Luhrman to discuss various reports about the troubled film, and in particular last Sunday night’s report from Australia’s Herald Sun that Luhrman — spoiler-averse, beware! — has been pressured to go with a “live Hugh” happy ending.
They spoke just before Luhrman boarded a flight from New York (where he and the cast had taken part in an 11.10 Oprah special on the film) back to Sydney, where he’s now completing post-production work on the film, which is set to open nationwide on Wednesday, 11.26.
I’ve read Luhrman’s answer about the live-dead ending twice and I’m still not entirely what he’s saying, but he seems to saying that in the struggle to finish the film in just the right way he found a theme that he believed in. And that somebody (not necessarily H.J., apparently) That’s how I’m reading it, at least.
“What’s interesting is [that] I wrote, I think, six endings in all the drafts I did, shot three, and I ended up concluding the film in a way in which I — probably more than anyone — least expected,” Luhrman begins. “And there is a death in the ending of the film, by the way — it’s a bit of a twist and I won’t give it away.
“And, incidentally, the two endings, by the way, tested completely the same essentially, you know? They really did in the numbers. But I came up with a third ending, and the ending that I’ve created about the film came from a place of a response, actually, to the thing that I wanted the movie to be — the important, big idea of the movie — how to amplify that big idea. And, essentially, that’s, as the little boy says, ‘The rain will fall. The grass grows green. And life begins again.’
“And that idea — that in a world that is so full of fear, and things are falling down, and people are somewhat concerned — sending a movie out there that can leave people with a sense that, despite it all, you can go back to Faraway Downs, or that you can go on, and a sense of hope, is something I really felt personally I wanted the movie to give out.”
“But I think the big story is how the actual ending I came up with — which is quite unusual, it’s not easy to say it’s ‘the happy one’ or ‘the death one’ — it’s something quite surprising. And it found itself, really.”
“You can go back to Faraway Downs” sounds like a little bit of a push-back on “you can’t go home again.” Which I know from life experience to be absolutely true. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding.