Baz Luhrmann, the brilliant director of Moulin Rouge! And Romeo and Juliet, shifts focus to Elvis | Baz Luhrmann

WWhat hat do you get if you cross an Australian dance teacher with a small cinema owner? Genetically speaking, the answer comes in the brilliant form of Baz Luhrmann, the music-loving director of Strictly ballroom And Moulin Rouge!who learned tango with his mother and watched movies on his father’s screen in the small town of Herons Creek.

Born in Sydney in 1962, Mark Anthony Luhrmann has already created a handful of folk songs galore, and now tells the story of Elvis Presley, one of the most vivid — not to mention horrific — of all the non-fiction. his biography, Elviswhich starred 30-year-old Austin Butler and Tom Hanks as the singer’s account manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had its world premiere on May 25 at the Cannes Film Festival.

A long escalation of public interest followed the project’s birth eight years ago, with original candidates for the title role including Harry Styles. Expectation levels rose further in early 2020 when filming in Australia was halted because Covid hit Hanks. Enthusiasm was reignited again earlier this month when the film won public approval from Presley’s widow.

Luhrmann, who looked brightly tanned at the Met Gala in New York, appeared on the red carpet with Priscilla Presley, who later tweeted after a private show of Elvis: “I relived every moment in this movie. It took me a few days to get over the feelings. Great job Baz.”

Tara Morris and Paul Mercurio at the Strictly Ballroom, 1992.
Tara Morris and Paul Mercurio at the Strictly Ballroom, which led to Luhrmann’s fame. Photo: Rank / Sportsphoto / Allstar

Priscilla revealed that Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie, also loved her, adding that she was sure his granddaughter, actress Riley Keough, would feel the same.

The film should spark some great Hollywood effort on the legendary Croisette at this festival, as Cannes shakes off the pandemic gloom. The premiere of the movie ElvisAlthough there is no competition for the Palme d’Or, it will mark a significant moment in a festival in which the big-screen appreciation of rock heroes is underway.

On Sunday, May 22, Ethan Coen, the half-brother of famous directors, made his first solo film with a documentary about American rock giant, Jerry Lee Lewis. his movie problem in the mind, charts the runaway career path of the musician they dubbed “The Killer”. Monday, May 23, David Bowie documentary, Daydream monaj, presented by Brett Morgan, also has a world premiere. Its American director, who already made montage heck About Kurt Cobain, he spent four years compiling hours of unseen Bowie footage for this “experimental cinematic epic.”

Music documentaries have taken over the film industry after the success of 2012 searching for sugar man. Last few years summer of the soul It was met with acclaim, and there was an enjoyable response to Edgar Wright’s Sparks movie. This festival, the annual Cannes Classics Collection, will honor Martin Scorsese’s impressive masterpiece of the genre, his 1978 documentary about the band, The last waltz.

A parallel boom in rock musician biography has seen Freddie Mercury, Hank Williams, Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Morrissey all roll off the production line. But Luhrmann promises something bolder and more vibrant. As a director dealing with probably the most important events in commercial pop history, he knew he “couldn’t make this movie if his choice wasn’t quite right.”

Nicole Kidman in a scene from Luhrmann's hit movie Moulin Rouge!
Nicole Kidman in a scene from Luhrmann’s hit movie Moulin Rouge! Photo: TCD / Prod.DB / Alamy

“We have meticulously searched for an actor who has the ability to evoke the unique natural movement and vocal qualities of this unique star, but also inner weakness,” he said.

By the way, Luhrmann himself also set the difficult task of finding the masked BB King, Sister Rosetta Tharp and Little Richard. Elvis ejaculate. But then music became in the bones of the son of dancewear store owner Barbara and her late husband Leonard Luhrmann, a Vietnam vet who ran a farm and gas station (plus a cinema).

Their son loved music and dance, and, as an adult, earned Grammy nominations for his film’s soundtrack, as well as some acclaim as an opera director. In the early 1990s, his Australian production of Benjamin Britten was A Midsummer Night’s Dream He won the Critic’s at the Edinburgh Festival, and in 2002 he brought Puccini’s no bohem to Broadway, where she received seven Tony nominations.

Besides his love of haute couture, Luhrmann’s passion for music has fueled generous advertising campaigns for Chanel, as well as promotional films celebrating designers Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli.

“I’ve always been very popular,” Luhrmann admitted. However, there is another chord in its arc that only Australian TV drama viewers, diagonal practice In the ’80s, they probably remember. Luhrmann started as an actor, and graduated from the Sydney National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1985. Even before that, at the age of 18, he had played small roles in a few episodes of the daytime soap.

Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet.
Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet. Photo: Allstar / Alamy

By that time it was already “Baz” and not “Mark”. Initially, he was named by the school’s bullies in reference to Basil Brush, the British children’s television doll character. “I had this frizzy, curly hair, that big volume, and at school all these boys used to beat shit out of me,” the director recalls. With impressive teenage courage, he responded by changing his name through a poll to Bazmark, forever associating sarcasm with his birth name and effectively launching a creative brand into the world.

When fame came it came fast and suddenly, in her thirties, with the launch of Strictly ballroom, the first film in Luhrmann’s “Red Curtain Trilogy”. What began as a theatrical short piece in drama school became a quirky cinematic success, and later transformed mainstream television entertainment by inspiring the BBC to revamp the defunct ballroom show as Strictly come dance.

For Luhrmann, the film was “the first step in this kind of 10-year journey to making a musical cinematic language.” Then came his vibrant vision of Shakespeare romeo + juliet in 1996. Critics tend to refer to this piece as a true masterpiece, and the director certainly remains a little fond of it.

He recently called it “the most romantic filmmaking experience I’ve ever had”, adding, “Someone has to make a movie about us doing this movie. Can you imagine? Leo DiCaprio was 19, we all live in Mexico, There are helicopters, explosions, and we’re doing a pentameter!”

Luhrmann and his wife, fashion designer Catherine Martin, arrived for the 2022 Met Gala.
Luhrmann and his wife, fashion designer Catherine Martin, arrived for the 2022 Met Gala. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty

A year after its release, Luhrmann married production designer, Catherine Martin, who has now won four Academy Awards for his films. The couple have two children and have talked about maintaining a funky home environment, living separately during the week and meeting in hotels on the weekends.

In 2001, Luhrmann gained full public attention when movie audiences gave Jim Broadbent sing Madonna as the Virgin in Moulin Rouge!. Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, it has so far won the most awards, including eight Academy Award nominations. His latest trio of Red Curtain, he sees as rooted in the expressive greatness of Hollywood in the 1940s: “It’s a highly theatrical language, which I like to think of as a big lie revealing a big truth.”

Since then, critical reception of Luhrmann’s work has proven less reliable. He keeps a small notebook of ideas for projects but the last options didn’t fly high. 2008 historical epic, Australia, again starring Kidman but this time alongside fellow countryman Hugh Jackman, they did well in Europe, but critics didn’t care. His latest movie, a 3D version of F Scott Fitzgerald The great Gatsby, with Leonardo DiCaprio as a charming anti-hero, was not liked by many reviewers. However, it brought in three times its estimated budget of $105 million at the box office. last year, go downAn expensive Netflix series about the origins of hip-hop in the 1970s, was dropped after one season.

With Luhrmann all or nothing, it seems. It is a creative philosophy that he seems to extend to his audience. In defense of the whole style of the stunning opening scenes of Moulin Rouge!, Luhrmann argued that a slow, natural approach would be weak: “While chatting and eating popcorn, you only get a bunch of facts and figures until the movie starts. In our movie, we ask you to say, ‘Are you going in or are you going out?” Next week will reveal which way the festival audience has chosen It was Elvis.

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