"Australia" director defends movie against critics

Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:19pm EST
 
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By Steven Zeitchik

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Baz Luhrmann's "Australia" may be doing some middling U.S. boxoffice, earning about $39 million since it opened Thanksgiving weekend, but the director is unrepentant as the movie nears its first month of release stateside.

In one of his first interviews since the movie opened, he spoke out against "Australia's" critics and those he feels call him the "black hole of cinema." He also said he will move quickly on his next project, an adaptation of "The Great Gatsby," which he described as a perfect parable for economic disaster.

"A lot of reviewers like 'Australia.' And we're making people cry; I know because they write to us," he told the Hollywood Reporter during an interview at the Four Seasons Hotel. "But there are those that don't get it. A lot of the film scientists don't get it. And it's not just that that they don't get it, but they hate it and they hate me, and they think I'm the black hole of cinema. They say, 'He shouldn't have made it, and he should die.'"

Asked why he thought the reactions were so passionate, he replied: "I know what it's about."

The movie's detractors, he said, were used to movies that were neatly defined.

"This is not (simply) a romantic comedy for 40-year-old women or action movies for 17-year-old boys, and that's not OK with some people. It's not OK for people to come eat at the same table of cinema. But you look at movies like 'Gone With the Wind' and Old Hollywood classics, and they don't fit in any box.

"Corny Hollywood movies from the '40s freak out (the film scientists)," he added.

Luhrmann struck a tone that was as unyielding as many of the creative choices in his movies, but was also occasionally conciliatory. "I'm not whining, because when you do what I do, you expect to be covered in mud. But there seems to be a lot of misinformation."   Continued...

 
<p>Director Baz Luhrmann arrives for the premiere of the film "Australia" in New York November 24, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>