The epic, WWII-era romance movie Australia, which opens today, doesn’t have a lot to do plotwise with the current financial landscape. But at Monday night’s New York City premiere, director Baz Luhrmann told us that his editing of the film was “completely inspired” by “the crash” and the current economic crisis.
“As I was editing and the crash came and I was coming to America, you can feel fear. You can feel fear…There’s fear out there!,” Luhrmann said.
Specifically, this feeling of terror amidst these troubled times was what made him decide on the ending he used.
[Very mild spoilers ahead if none at all.]
“When I left here to shoot the film, America was in a different place,” he explained. “When I came back here to start testing, I could feel in the audience that neither a fairytale ending, happy, or an overly indulgent, dramatic death, was useful. It wasn’t useful.
The audience needed to know that things weren’t going to be perfectly good or bad, but life goes on. There’s a line at the end, the boy says, ‘King George teach me the rain will fall, the grass grows green and life begins again.’ That’s what I hope—other than whole a lot of entertainment—that’s what I hope the audience gets from this.”
Time will tell whether Baz’s hopeful ending scores with audiences at the box office, proving that people really don’t want to see depressing movies right now. But it’s interesting to find out that Baz wasn’t fighting with 20th Century Fox about the ending to his film, he was fighting with society to produce the kind of conclusion he thought people would want to see.
So, if you don’t like Australia, don’t blame 20th Century Fox chairman Tom Rothman or Rupert Murdoch, both on hand at Monday’s premiere. Blame whomever you believe is responsible for the current economic downturn.
And if you love it, maybe send that financier a gift, flowers, or even just a thank you note. We’re sure Dick Fuld would appreciate it!
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