Baz Luhrmann’s Epic ‘Australia’ To Be Basis for New Series, ‘Faraway Downs’


After the success of Elvis, Baz Luhrmann is delving back into the TV world. The last time he did so was for the short-lived series, The Get Down. Luhrmann is developing Faraway Downs (named after the cattle station in the story) from footage captured for the 2008 epic Australia

Streaming on Disney+ in the UK, and premiering on Hulu in the US, the series promises a “new variation” on the film. Executively produced by Luhrmann, as well as Catherine Martin, Schuyler Weiss, and Catherine Knapman, Faraway Downs is sure to hold up to the epic that is Australia.

Australia is set during World War 2, where English aristocrat, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) returns to claim her inheritance—a cattle station. Here she meets a cattle drover (Hugh Jackman) and rivalry and romance ensue. Australia is a romantic epic which also enlightens those to the Stolen Generations; Indigenous Australian children who were forcibly integrated into white society and removed from their homes.

With a $211.3 million box office and a $130 million budget, Australia was by no means a failure. Although achieving the lowest IMDb rating of Luhrmann’s productions, Australia proves Luhrmann can do the epic. Yet, the TV format appears Luhrmann’s biggest threat after production problems with The Get Down. The show, set in 70s New York, was cancelled after one season in 2017. The reported increasingly extravagant budget and challenging filmmaking process may have doomed the series from the get-go. Fortunately, Luhrmann’s previous dealings with Australia’s story promises an epic expansion.

Luhrmann remarks, “Australia the film has its own life, there was another telling of this story; one with different layers, nuances and even alternative plot twists that an episodic format has allowed us to explore. Drawn from the same material, Faraway Downs is a new variation on Australia for audiences to discover.” The 2008 film had several different endings proposed, so the TV series is likely to veer off from its predecessor.Luhrmann is known for involving Australian talent in plenty of his productions, from Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley in the recent Elvis, or Joel Edgerton as Tom in The Great GatsbyAustralia was no exception. Along with Jackman and Kidman, Australia introduced Brandon Walters as the young Nullah, and the seasoned actor David Gulpilil as King George. Faraway Downs promises more screen time in a six-episode format for these Australian actors whilst encompassing the epic Australian landscape in which it was shot.

Words by Annabel Smith

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