Russell Crowe told me that he and his best girl pal Nicole Kidman are getting ready to ‘swoon’ before the cameras in a big romantic epic that Baz Luhrmann will direct on location in Australia in June.
“It’s set in the 1930s and 40s and I can tell you that it’s a romance and I do a bit of horseriding and a bit of swooning with Nic,” Russell told me when we chatted at a hush-hush private party thrown over the Golden Globes weekend by Vanity Fair.
“Baz – the other Baz, not you Baz – has talked to Nic and me a lot about this film and we’re both up for it.
“I’ve known Nic for a long time, but we’ve never worked together; and I’ve known the other Baz for a while. And the important thing is that it’s nearly six months working in Australia. We start rehearsals in May and the cameras roll in June.”
Russell said he particularly wanted to film in Australia so he can be with wife Danielle, who is pregnant with their second child.
“It’s perfect timing on all fronts, mate – although some of the locations are pretty remote. We’ll do some filming partly in the Kimberleys and the Northern Territory. It’s as rough as guts out there. There’s nothing there.
“There’ll be a cast and crew of around 240, and Baz said he’ll have to be like John Ford and build a town.”
I broke the news of this, as yet untitled, film last year. At the time, there was concern that it would not get off the ground after the collapse of Eucalyptus, an Australian-based film that was also to have starred Russell and Nicole, 11 months ago.
“Eucalyptus was a small affair and I said to Nic that it was a fragile piece and it was probably a mistake in the first place for her and me to do it. Suddenly, there was all this expectation and it couldn’t take the weight of Nic and myself.
“Baz’s film has the kind of sweeping story that can carry us,” he continued.
Our talk took place in the lobby of the Sunset Towers Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, perilously close to the concierge desk.
I was grateful that, first of all, Russell was in a good mood (though to be fair, he’s never been difficult with me) and second, that the phones were out of harm’s way, behind a screen.