Somehow I never quite understood that Baz Luhrman‘s trouble-plagued, endlessly-prepping Australia, which will finally roll film in March with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in the leads, will basically be a down-under Red River. In telling his story of a risky Australian cattle drive occuring in mid to late 1941, Luhrman is looking at a very difficult and strenuous shooting schedule, partly because he intends to shoot au natural, or at least without the obvious augmentation of computer graphics.

Luhrman said several months ago that he intends to shoot Australia in the manner of Lawrence of Arabia, without any blatant CG crap. Quality-level filmmmakers are saying this all over — CG that looks like CG is horseshit. It’s funny, but reading a description of Luhrman’s project reminded me of Roadshow, a Martin Ritt project about a contemporary cattle drive that would have starred Jack Nicholson and Tim Hutton. (It fell apart in pre-pre-production about 25 years ago.)
Australia will be Luhrman’s “first time back in the director’s chair since 2001’s Moulin Rouge,” says an Empire report, “and willl focus on an English aristocratic land-owner (Kidman) who, in an attempt to avoid money-grabbing cattle barons, embarks on a harzardous cross-country trip with a rough and ready cattle driver (Jackman). The pair then encounter the Japanese bombing of Darwin, which occured a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.”