“Baz’s Epic Gamble!” screamed The Weekend Australian, in a desperate bid to ignite public interest in the imminent release of its sister company’s $100M-plus movie Australia. On a daily basis Rupert Murdoch’s papers have been remorselessly exploiting the tried-and-true synergistic cross-media promotional aspects so beloved by News Corp’s fearless leader in a daily doling out of inane crap to keep the masses chattering over the water cooler. And with the movie about to premiere we would imagine that the News Corp film critic drones are busy submitting their reviews to Rupert and 20th Century Fox for approval. Meanwhile, the rest of the media, particularly Fairfax, appear to be preparing huge vats of cranberry sauce for what they believe will be the biggest turkey of the year. So, which will it be?
Apparently, Russell Crowe turned down the male lead in Australia, citing the crap pay on offer. “I’m happy to do work for charity but I’m fucked if I’ll work on the cheap for that *&%# Murdoch,” he reportedly snarled. And this may very well turn out be an astute career move as well, as it’s difficult to see how this film is going to do anything significant at the box office.
First off, (our) Nicole. The problem is, she doesn’t actually have a fan-base. Men don’t find her sexy and women think she’s weird because she was married to Tom Cruise. This wasn’t always the case. (Our) Nicole was sexy once. In the movie To Die For, from the early nineties. In fact, she was super sexy as the completely bonkers fame obsessed over-acting cable TV starlet, but then something happened (Tom? Botox? Keith?) and that sexiness disappeared. To Die For was a watershed movie as it also marked the only occasion where (our) Nicole was able to turn in an actual performance – as in acting. Most likely this was because she was playing a completely bonkers fame obsessed over-acting starlet. Join the dots, people.
A much better choice for a female lead would have been (our) Guy Pearce. For starters, he can act, unlike (our) Nicole. An Aussie Brokeback Mountain with blowflies and blowjobs would have gone over super-well with the female audience and would seem to be a more, err, do-able project for (our) Baz. Up his street, as they say.
But, alas, t’was not to be. Instead, we’ve got (our) Hugh with a toe-curlingly cod dinky-di Aussie accent doing a kind of dusty reverse Pygmalion with (our) Nicole as a hoity-toity English stuck-up heiress. And then they get bombed by Japs. This is the bit with planes to get the blokes interested, but frankly, I don’t know if there’s going to be enough explosions to get the average Aussie male through the cinema door. I know, I’m only guessing here, but (our) Baz isn’t known for his love of explosions and Japs being torn asunder. If it involved some Kamikaze cha-cha dancers then it might be a different story.
(Our) Baz isn’t shy about coming forward, though, as he’s been mentioning Australia in the same breath as Gone With The Wind. Fack, he’s got cojones, you gotta give him that. And why shouldn’t he be cock-a-hoop about things? He’s about to rake in some tens-of-millions of dollars for a movie tie-in with the Australian Tourism Commission or Tourism Board or whatever the fuck those incompetent bureaucrats are called nowadays. How in god’s name that deal happened is anyone’s guess and it wouldn’t do any harm to examine it under the cold, hard light of a senate estimates committee. But that’s just churlish of us because we’re jealous that we completely overlooked the god-given beauty inherent in blowflies and dust (and deadly jellyfish).