The epic of Baz Luhrmann in 2008 Australia gets a second life — as a limited edition.
The Elvis the filmmaker will develop and reinvent the film as Distant lows, a six-part series that will air on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ and Star+ internationally. The project will be assembled entirely from footage shot by Luhrmann for Australia, with a new ending and an updated soundtrack. Its premiere is scheduled for this winter. (At the time of Australia’upon release, Luhrmann said he had filmed three endings.)
“Initially, I wanted to take the notion of sweeping, carried away by the wind-epic style and flip it – a way to use romance and epic drama to highlight the roles of First Nations peoples and the painful scar in Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’ history,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “Whereas Australia the film has its own life, there was another retelling of this story; one with different layers, nuances, and even alternate twists that an episodic format allowed us to explore. Made from the same material, Distant lows is a new variation on Australia to be discovered by the public.
like the movie, Distant lows will tell the story of an English aristocrat, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) who inherits a large cattle ranch in Australia after the death of her husband. When Australian cattle barons plot to take her land, she teams up with a herdsman (Hugh Jackman) to protect her ranch. The story is explored through the eyes of young Nullah (Brandon Walters), a bi-racial Australian Aboriginal child caught up in the government’s draconian racial policy now called the “Stolen Generations”. The trio live through four life-changing years, a love affair between Sarah and the herdsman and the inevitable impact of World War II.
“Baz is one of the world’s greatest author storytellers, revisiting Distant lows and live his incredible film Australia in this unique new episodic format has been an eye-opening and unique adventure,” said Craig Erwich, President of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “We can’t wait to take viewers to the ranch and experience all of the stories that take place there and continue to unfold there.”
The theatrical cut of Australia has a duration of two hours, 45 minutes. It is not yet known how long the full series of six episodes will last.
Disney’s 20th Television Produced Distant lows (20th Century Fox released Australia). Luhrmann executive produces with Catherine Martin, Schuyler Weiss and Catherine Knapman; Knapman was producer and Martin co-producer on the 2008 film.