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Australia the movie previewed -

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Australia the movie previewed

Broadcast: 17/11/2008


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: It's been the most hyped and the most expensive Australian film ever made,
but after budget blow outs, pressure from Hollywood producers and a host of last minute changes,
director Baz Luhrmann's film "Australia" is finally finished.

And while the stars and 3,000 invited guests are dusting off their evening wear for tomorrow
night's world premiere in Sydney, others have already had a preview. However, they're all bound by
a signed agreement not to say whether it's any good.

One of those bound by that agreement is our own reporter Anne Maria Nicholson who's just filed this
censored report.

ANNE MARIA NICHOLSON, REPORTER: The ingredients are all there: a stellar cast led by Nicole Kidman
and Hugh Jackman, an innovative director Baz Luhrmann and artistic designer Catherine Martin and
story set during World War II to pull the heart strings.

The budget reportedly exceeded $150 million, backed by Fox Studios. Over runs included shooting
various endings, one where the drover Hugh Jackman died, and the one where the handsome hero lived
to ride again.

Tourism Australia also jumped aboard the "Australia" juggernaut, a $50 million ad campaign cashing
in on the stars and scenery will screen internationally in an attempt to entice dwindling numbers
of international visitors to our shores.

The film's been labelled "epic" and having just seen the two and a half hour plus movie, there's no
doubt that this film "Australia" is indeed a landmark in Australian picture making.

Big names, extraordinary screens, drama, tragedy and romance. But is it enough to draw in the
crowds? And is it destined to become our "Gone with the Wind" or "Titanic"?

While the filmmakers staged a special screening for the media, they insisted that no critics can
voice their opinion of "Australia" until after the world premiere.

So the verdict about the movie will have to wait.

Sydney will host the major premiere with simultaneous openings and locations where the film was
shot - Darwin, Kununurra in Western Australia and Bowen in Queensland.

"Australia" will open in cinemas next week.

Anne Maria Nicholson, Lateline.