Baz Luhrmanns Australia to Be Recut Into Hulu Limited Series Faraway Downs
First Quentin Tarantino adapted “The Hateful Eight” into a Netflix “miniseries.” Now, Baz Luhrmann is revisiting his 2008 sprawling period piece “Australia” with an upcoming recut limited series for Hulu.
The film, which starred Nicole Kidman as an English aristocrat who inherits a cattle range run by a cattle drover (Hugh Jackman), is being reimagined as a six-episode miniseries titled “Faraway Downs.” The Hulu project will entirely use recut footage from Luhrmann’s original film, with a new ending and updated soundtrack. Luhrmann previously said “Australia” had shot three endings, with only one making it into the theatrical release. “Faraway Downs” is set to premiere this winter on Hulu, with streaming rights on Disney+ and Starz+ internationally.
“I originally set out to take the notion of the sweeping, ‘Gone With the Wind’-style epic and turn it on its head — a way of using romance and epic drama to shine a light on the roles of First Nations people and the painful scar in Australian history of the ‘Stolen Generations,’” Luhrmann said with the announcement. “While ‘Australia’ the film has its own life, there was another telling of this story; one with different layers, nuances and even alternative plot twists that an episodic format has allowed us to explore. Drawn from the same material, ‘Faraway Downs’ is a new variation on Australia for audiences to discover.”
“Faraway Downs” will expand on the drama of Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman) as a cattle baron plots to take her land while a young biracial Indigenous Australian child Nullah (Brandon Walters) is caught up in the government’s racial policy now referred to as the “Stolen Generations.” The film spans four years encompassing the impact of World War II.
Disney’s 20th Television is producing “Faraway Downs” with Luhrmann executive producing with Catherine Martin, Schuyler Weiss, and Catherine Knapman; Knapman was a producer and Martin was a co-producer of the 2008 film.
The original theatrical cut for “Australia” runs two hours and 45 minutes. “Faraway Downs” will include six episodes of a yet-undisclosed length.
Luhrmann, who most recently helmed the “Elvis” musical biopic, previously defended the length of his films while speaking to IndieWire.
“There’s dramatic license and there’s compressions because you’ve got to compress times,” Luhrmann said in reference to the Elvis Presley film. “My rule is, as long as it doesn’t fundamentally change the truth. I mean, you’re telling a 42-year-long life in two-and-a-half hours.”
Luhrmann continued, “I make theatrical movies. It’s a theatrical experience. And the theater simply means a place in which strangers come together in an environment. and for a few moments are united by what happens in the theater, whether my theatrics are good or bad. That’s my only job. That’s my mission. Right now, we haven’t really proved that non-franchise movies can bring all quadrants back into the theater. I consider that to be on my shoulders.”
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