Open letter to Baz Luhrmann:

| Posted by Bel | The time is 12.31pm here in Wellington NZ |

Dear Baz:

(I can call you 'Baz', right? I mean, um, I don't even know what to call you for long, so I'm gonna have to.)

I like you, Baz, I do. I have liked you for a long time. I saw your film Strictly Ballroom at the cinema when I was a wee girl of 10 years old and got told off immediately afterwards for attempting to flamenco dance in my bedroom, waking my younger brother up in the process.

When Romeo + Juliet was released, I was at a tender age. Nerdy enough to love the original text, teenagey enough to love the sexed-up modernisation. I bought the poster, I bought the CD soundtrack, I bought the other CD soundtrack. I put my hair in a deliberately nonchalant half-up style and wished more boys in my town wrote poetry in beautiful natural light on the beachfront (instead, they were more the menacing-cigarette-in-a-gas-station type).

In my first year of university, just as I was a public relations student realising that I was actually a film theory student, you unleashed Moulin Rouge. It was only 18 months since I had last been in Paris. You transported me back and you added a whirlwind of drama and glamour which included the most beautiful dress to bless the silver screen until that green frock in Atonement.

Then you made a film called Australia. I remember being aghast when I saw the trailer. I think I may've actually shuddered at that bit when Kidman's face, as smooth and luminescent as a traditionally iced wedding cake, peered down at the dark skinned child huddled in a hovel which managed to scream simultaneously "poverty!" and "fabulously decorated by the one and only Catherine Martin!".

I'd heard that you'd been working on operatic stage performances, Baz, a move which seemed both inspired and completely logical. I decided to ignore this cinematic misstep, much in the way we pretend that Guy Ritchie's Madonna film didn't happen, or how we must block out the fact that Elizabeth Moss is a grand ole crazy Scientologist and just focus on how wonderful and perfect she is as Peggy.

Last year there were rumours you had a new project on the boil. The Great Gatsby was going to be remade and you were the man to do it. I watched the film not so long ago and thought that its themes of the indolent upper classes and the slow rot of wealth were still timely - I could see Joseph Gordon Levitt making a great Nick Carraway (the narrator).

Next thing we heard, you'd cast our old friend Leo in the title role - a part made famous by Robert Redford, if not emblazoned in minds by the original F Scott Fitzgerald novel. Then the glorious news that it was to be Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.

But now - I hesitate. Oh Baz. Just when it seemed that things were going so right, it all seems that things could go horribly, horribly wrong.

Baz, listen - honey.

Please don't do this.

Just don't.

Resist the urge.

I know how it is. You're away for the weekend, you're in Vegas, you're hanging out with Michael "Blow Shit Up" Mann and Oliver "Throw Money At It" Stone and you get a bit carried away. It happens!

You do things you wouldn't usually, you say things you don't mean. Nobody's going to hold you to it, sweetheart.

I always feel a bit woozy after wearing 3D glasses for a couple of hours. Was that it? Did you have to trial new fancy ones? Was James "More! More! MOOOOORE!" Cameron there? I can't imagine he'd be a good influence. Did something weird happen like that scene in The Hangover when Mike Tyson starts singing and you start thinking he's kind of funny and adorbs and forget he's actually a convicted rapist? Vegas is a crazy place, I hear.

Anyway, hopefully you're home now and have had a bit of time to think it through over a cool can of Fosters and have moved on from the whole folly.

If so, cheers! and good luck with the script and that whole shooting business. Let me know if you need any consultation on cloche hats (they're a personal fave).

If not, well.... *shakes fist*

Love, your fan,

Bel xxx

4 thoughts on “Open letter to Baz Luhrmann:”

  1. This is going to be the second time I defend 3D cinema in 24 hours so ...

    I think it will be ok. I'm not a fan of Lurhmann (which is to say I think his best film is Strictly Ballroom and I've hated everything he's done since) but I think he has the nous and imagination to make use of the technology well ... he'll probably employ those annoying spins and smash cuts he loves so much (and I loathe) ...

    If anything, 3D will give depth to his sumptuous sets and maybe control his attention deficient editing hand (hate, hate, hate)

  2. Oh don't get me wrong, this wasn't intended as an attack on modern 3D cinema in general - I can't comprehend what it would add to this specific story.

    Maybe it is indicative of the direction the film world is headed in? Not just action packed adventures like Avatar and Journey To The Center Of The Earth (the 2009 hit starring Brendan Fraser) but possibly we'll put on specs to see new versions of Remains Of The Day and Driving Miss Daisy??

  3. I don't think so ... there's a fair bit of money making being had by studios who are trying to make everything 3D so they can claw back box office receipts hence the "everything must be 3D mentality", once the noise and quietened down, I think that it will become a tool - appropriate for some films, not so much for others.

    Directors like Nolan will continue to use IMAX as his preferred tech of choice as it fulfils the canvas that he and his DoP Wally Pfister are trying to create. Similarly directors will use handhelds, black and white, 35mm or 70mm and even iPhones (see the news for Park Chan Wook's latest short) as it fits their narrative.

    I imagine, had it been around when he filmed it, David Lean would have gone for IMAX (although, I'm not sure about the 3D) for Lawrence of Arabia ...

    This all said, could not be more excited by the news that Martin Scorsese is shooting a film in 3D. Dude is the ultimate film geek and editor, he knows how frame and tell stories so magnificently that I think his film will change a lot of opinions on what 3D can and can't achieve.

  4. I'm in the "oh god don't do it" camp.

    The big difference between Baz and the 3D guys is his technical prowess... in that I don't think he really has any.

    I love his films (except The One We Don't Speak Of, which was a massive waste of 3 hours of my life that I will never get back), but I love them for the art direction and the heightened stories and melodramatic set pieces... and I don't see 3D enhancing those. In fact, I worry they would actually detract from them by distracting him away from the core of what makes his work so special.

    (Whereas Scorsese doing 3D = AWESOME.)