Hugh Jackman is one of the great musical actors of our time, as evidenced by his multiple Tony awards and Academy Award nomination for his musical performance in Les Miserables. He also worked with Baz Luhrmann, the writer/director who revived the cinematic musical with his 2001 film Moulin Rouge! What I’ve always found to be humorously ironic, however, is that Jackman’s role in Luhrmann’s film Australia is about as non-musical as it gets. The good news is that the two icons desperately want a redo.
I recently spoke with Baz Luhrmann in celebration of both Moulin Rouge’s 20th anniversary and Moulin Rouge: The Musical’s record number of Tony wins. He and Hugh Jackman are good friends and both Australian, hence them working together on Australia, and when I asked if they ever discuss working together again in a musical capacity, Luhrmann responded without skipping a beat:
Any fan of Baz Luhrmann couldn’t ask for a better answer. They discuss it “all the time!” All we can do now is hope that one day it comes to fruition. As for the Oscars performance, what a delightful little piece of trivia. I was under the impression that the two had never worked together in a musical capacity, but the 21st Annual Academy Awards in 2009, which was hosted by Jackman, featured a huge musical medley that was a tribute to the return of cinematic musicals. It also featured Beyoncé, Amanda Seyfried from Les Miserables, Zac Efron from The Greatest Showman, and, you guessed it, a track from Moulin Rouge! It’s not too surprising that Luhrmann was involved in some capacity.
As for Australia, Hugh Jackman wasn’t the only character to be in a non-musical role. It was quite a departure for Luhrmann, not only due to the lack of song and dance but because of the dark subject matter, tackling the mistreatment of Australia’s indigenous children prior to World War II. While it didn’t exactly crush the United States box office it’s still Luhrmann’s highest-grossing film in Europe, and apparently, there’s more to come. He said this:
There’s no word as to what this mysterious Australia surprise is, but the project is exciting nonetheless. Meanwhile, both men have more musical offerings in store, as Hugh Jackman is starring in an upcoming production of The Music Man, and Baz Luhrmann is writing and directing an upcoming Elvis biopic. We’ll certainly keep you updated as these projects develop.