Stars walk the red carpet for "Australia" premiere

Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:12am EST
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Red carpets were rolled out in Sydney and the dusty outback on Tuesday for the world premiere of the epic movie "Australia" which aims to showcase the rugged continent, its history and indigenous people to the world.

Director Baz Luhrmann's ambitious and grandly named film, the most expensive made in Australia, was released amid a blaze of publicity and a race to finish the movie on time.

Australian co-stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman have both carved out lucrative Hollywood careers but wanted to work with Luhrmann, a perfectionist who was so busy editing the film until the last moment that the cast did not see it before the premiere.

"I knew we would get there but it has been a long time," Jackman told Reuters as he walked the red carpet in Sydney, while screenings were held in three other Australian locations.

The two-hour 40-minute long movie, which is reported to have cost News Corp's 20th Century Fox about US$130 million, is a World War Two drama set in stunning Australian landscape.

An English aristocrat (Kidman) travels to Australia and joins forces with a "drover" or cowboy (Jackman) and an Aboriginal child to drive a herd of cattle across Australia, falling in love along the way.

Australia is pinning high hopes on the romantic adventure, which Luhrmann said he had filmed in the style of "Gone With The Wind" hoping to make his mark on Australian film history, but it remained to be seen if it would draw audiences globally.

"There will be some (bad reviews), and there will be some people who really embrace it," said Luhrmann, admitting spending such a large amount on an old-fashioned style movie was a risk.   Continued...

 
<p>Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman pose together on the red carpet at the world premiere of their new film "Australia" in Sydney November 18, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne</p>