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Special Features » Movie Of The Month

"I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind, that I put down in words..."

As part of a monthly feature here at Nicole's Magic, each month we will be taking a look back at one of Nicole's films or acting projects. Nicole has an immense body of work behind her, and there's no better way to be reminded of her talent and how much we love her than immersing ourselves and taking an in depth look at those works.

For the month of May/June 2011, there's only one pick for our Movie Of The Month - Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 10 years ago (May 2001!) and took the world by storm during it's subsequent worldwide promotion and release over the following months. Ten years later and I think it's safe to say this movie is iconic, a classic, and a cultural phenomenon. It revived the musical, and arguably inspired a new wave of music featured in film and television - Glee, anyone? It's hard to put into words (or song!) how meaningful this film is for Nicole fans, and Nicole herself. It transformed her from being 'Cruise's actress (ex-)wife', showed off her talent in ways no-one expected, catapulted her onto Hollywood's acting A-List and opened new doors for her, and introduced her to and gained her millions of new movie fans. The passion that went into this film from all involved is echoed by the passion shown by movie fans for it.

The Story

Satine: "I don't need you anymore! All my life you made believe I was only worth what someone would pay for me! But Christian loves me. He loves me! He loves me, Harold. And that is worth everything! We're going away from you, away from the Duke, away from the Moulin Rouge!"

'She sings. She dances. She dies', is what Baz Luhrmann told Nicole Kidman when he asked her to do this film, and that sums up the film in a nutshell. The story begins with a heartbroken Christian, with a bottle in his hand and a typewriter to hand to tell his story.

The year is 1899, the summer of love, and penniless writen Christian moves to the Montmartre region of Paris to embrace his love of, well, love, in the Bohemian culture. It was not a "village of sin", but the "centre of the bohemian world", where he could write about his "ridiculous obsessions with love" ... despite never having ever been in love. That was about to change though. Soon after moving into his new apartment, a drunken Argentinian with an unfortunate case of narcolepsy dropped in on him, and he was closely followed by a dwarf dressed as a nun. The dwarf, named Toulouse-Lautrec, explains they are writing a play, and Christian soon finds himself filling in for the Argentinian. Seeing their creative differences over the script and lyrics, Christian steps in, and is soon their lead writer. The next day, they present their production to the financier - Harold Zidler of the infamous Moulin Rouge, and Christian must pretend to be a famous English poet and perform for Satine.

The Moulin Rouge - "where the rich and powerful came to play with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld". And Satine, the star courtesan, the Sparkling Diamond. Christian has never seen anything like it. Toulouse-Lautrec tells Christian he has arranged a private meeting for him and Satine after Satine's performance ... but Zidler has told The Duke, a potential financier of the Moulin Rouge the same. Satine gives a sparkling, lively performance and surprises Christian by taking him onto the dancefloor, mistakenly thinking his is the Duke hoping for a private meeting to arrange financing. The Moulin Rouge falls silent when Satine falls from her swing and collapses. She is taken backstage - what has happened to her? When she awakes, she is pulled into a costume, puts on her 'smouldering temptress' face and goes to the Elephant Room to perform her duties with the 'Duke'...

Christian is waiting in the Elephant Room for her - with Toulouse and the bohemians watching closely from the roof - and he tries to prepare Satine for what he is about show her. It's quite modern what he does, he tells her. Mistakenly thinking she is meant to be making love to the 'Duke', Satine helps Christian come out of his shell by jumping on him. She LOVES his "naughty words"!! Seeing Satine is getting slightly over-excited and his words are not getting through to her, he decides to try another way - song. "My gift is my song ... and this one's for you". Satine is silenced and transfixed. She takes his hand and they dance through the sky, by the Eiffel Tower and under glittering stars and a bemused moon. "I can't believe it. I'm in love. I'm in love with a young, handsome, talented Duke", Satine declares.

The illusion is broken when Christian informs Satine he is just a writer. When the real Duke appears, Satine has to go to all lengths to hide Christian who is hiding in the Elephant Room with them. When The Duke catches Christian in there, they have to put on am impromptu rehearsal for him, and the bohemians all pile in. Zidler joins in on it, and they all perform "Spectacular Spectacular" to a slightly overwhelmed Duke. "Generally I like it", he admitted, and they got the financing to perform the show at the Moulin Rouge.

Satine was in love. Christian was in love. Too much in love to be able to write the play. Satine dreams of a better life, and, atop the Elephant Room, sings about dreaming of flying away from the Moulin Rouge. Christian sees her, and surprises her on top of the Elephant. Satine is shocked to be caught at a vulnerable moment, and is unsure of how to act around Christian with her new-found feelings for him. She tries to remain professional, but Christian again bursts into song about how wonderful love is. Satine retorts, saying "love is just a game", and the only way to love her is "to pay a lovely fee". Satine playfully sings along, and the two tease each other with song lyrics. The two share a passionate kiss, and she realises he's going to be bad for business!

"How wonderful life was, now Satine was in the world". But Zidler knows different. The Duke demanded the deeds for the Moulin Rouge be given to him, and for a contract to be drawn up that binds Satine to him. Harold has to agree and signs. They are now able to transform the Moulin Rouge into a theatre, and rehearsals for Spectacular Spectacular begin. Whilst rehearsing with the bohemians, Satine and Christian grow closer, and Satine lets down her guard and falls under the spell of LOVE. But they must work hard and be on alert for The Duke, who pops up unexpectedly to try to take Satine away to woo her.

But the lovers are getting complacent. Whilst kidding in the Moulin Rouge, Zidler spies them just as The Duke is demanding Zidler make Satine spend more time with him. Zidler tells Satine she must stop seeing Christian, and that she is expected to have dinner with The Duke that night. Satine is conflicted, but knows she must help save the Moulin Rouge, but she wants to be with Christian. She passes out again, "a force darker than jealousy, and stronger than love, had begun to take hold of Satine". With Satine unable to attend dinner with The Duke, Zidler must once again delay The Duke from leaving. He tells him Satine is confessing, because she wants to feel "like a virgin" when she spends opening night with The Duke. The Duke has been won over.

Zidler is informed that Satine is dying. But the show must go on, and he doesn't want Satine to know. Christian is becoming jealous of Satine's forced relationship with The Duke. She informs him they must stop seeing each other. He protests, and says they'll write a song to perform in the play, and that whenever they sing it they are reminded of each other and the power of their love. "I love you, until the end of time." It brings a smile to their faces, and they continue their meetings.

But it's not long until The Duke finds out the truth. A jealous dancer hints that the Courtesan in the Spectacular Spectacular play should not choose the penniless writer - oops, she means sitar player - over the Maharaja. The Duke is incensed. Toulouse protests that the courtesan choosing the Maharaja does not fit with the bohemian ideals of the play, but the Duke won't listen. He doesn't know why she wouldn't choose the Maharaja. Christian can't contain himself and yells back that she doesn't love him - realising too late what he said. The Duke demands a re-write, and no lovers secret song. Satine knows what she must do. She turns on the charm and tries to seduce the Duke, telling Zidler they can make a re-write work. She meets up with Christian and tells him she has to sleep with The Duke. "Come what may", she whispers to a heartbroken Christian. She then proceeds to the Gothic Tower to have dinner with The Duke.

In the Gothic Tower, The Duke gives Satine an elaborate diamond necklace, promises her security and, knowing he'll have his way with her, says Zidler can keep his fairytale ending in the play. But he forces himself on her, and she runs, not wanting to have to lie anymore. She goes to Christian, who tells her they will leave tonight to be together. The Duke tells his man-servant to kill Christian, and having overheard this, Zidler tells Satine. Desperate for something real, to enjoy love, Satine tells Zidler she is leaving. But in response Zidler, finally, tells her she is dying. Knowing she can't let Christian go through that, and knowing she must protect him, she goes to him to announce she has decided to stay at the Moulin Rouge and be with The Duke. She has to make him believe she doesn't love him. She has to give the performance of a lifetime, and "hurt him to save him".

"The jealousy has driven him mad". But Toulouse reminds Christian of the power of love, and Christian decides to return to the Moulin Rouge. The show IS going on, and has started at the Moulin Rouge. Satine arrives on stage to great applause, and The Duke shows off a big smile, full of pride that she is his. Backstage, Christian has arrived and is trying to get to Satine ... but is closely followed by The Duke's man-servant. The bohemians try to stop the man-servant. Christian finds Satine, and - full of jealousy - desperately tries to get her to admit she doesn't love him. Satine is sick, and is struggling to continue. Finding themselves on stage, he continues to beg her to tell him. Exasperated, he tells he's paid his whore, and she's cured him of his ridiculous obsession with love. As Satine stands up, and Christian walks away, Toulouse crashes onto stage ...

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."

... reminding both Satine and Christian of their love, she sings their song - Come What May. The lovers are reunited ... on stage. The man-servant is still after Christian though, and when he drops his gun, The Duke picks it up, points it at Christian and is about to pull the trigger when Zidler steps in and punches him. The gun flies out of the Moulin Rouge and bounces off the Eiffel Tower! The lovers have been reunited, The Duke has gone, the curtain is down ... but Satine's consumption is still there. She collapses on the stage beind the curtain, and Christian holds her. She knows she's dying, and makes him promise he will tell their story. As she passes, the bohemians and Moulin Rouge people watch on in great sadness. In front of the curtain however, the crowd are still cheering out of enjoyment for the play.

Months later, Christian sat down and wrote their story. A story about a time, about a place, about the people. But above all things, a story about a love that will live forever.

The Character

"Wilting flower? Bright and bubbly? Or smoldering temptress?" Throughout the film, Satine is all 3. Bright and bubbly transforming into a smouldering temptress whilst 'performing' at the Moulin Rouge and for clients, and then as her health gets progressively worse, she becomes a wilting flower.

Satine is the star courtesan attraction at the Moulin Rouge club in Paris, a smouldering temptress designed to please the men and essentially keep bringing the money in. But she wants more - her real dream is to be an actress like her idol Sarah Bernhardt, and "fly away" from the Moulin Rouge. Satine lives in the Elephant Room, a sumptuous room next to the Moulin Rouge, where she entertains her clients. She's used to a life of selling herself and pleasing men, and rolls out the 'smouldering temptress' routine easily. But she's taken aback when she meets Christian and he sings to her. She's breaking the rules of the Moulin Rouge and her job - life - by falling in love, and this is the first time she has fallen in love.

To prepare for the role Nicole watched all the musicals she could get her hands on, to try to familarise her self with a genre she previously hadn't paid that much attention to. "I looked at Marilyn Monroe, Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth and they're all extraordinary," she says, adding that she gained new respect for their talents as singers and dancers.

"She is on the one hand unattainable, but extremely available," Baz says of Satine. She was written to resemble some of the classic iconic stars of the 20th century, "a little bit like Marlene Dietrich, a little bit like Madonna, a little bit like Marilyn," the director tells. Indeed, her opening "is supposed to resemble bits of Marlene, Marilyn, and those kinds of stars, and there's no doubt in my mind that Nicole embodies classic movie stardom," Baz explains. Costume and production designer Catherine Martin worked on the costumes using those same ideas. They "pull[ed] out what we felt were characteristic of all those heroines," she says, and some costumes were nods to outfits those icons would wear, or costumes they wore in their films. They also drew on Nicole's natural beauty in creating Satine's look - "Nicole is so naturally glamorous, it's ridiculous not to use that because she does embody the sparkling diamond". But while much is said about Nicole's stunning hair in the film, people are surprised to find out she's actually wearing a wig!! It's interesting to notice that as Satine was seen as the glamourous megastar of the Moulin Rouge, Nicole found herself becoming a superstar herself, just like her character, upon the film's release in 2001 ... much to her discomfort.

Baz Luhrmann attests to the dedication and force Nicole breathed into this performance, saying, "When Nicole won the Golden Globe I was like "Yes!" - I knew what she went through, I knew what a test it was. I heard one of the greatest actors in the world say, "She plays high comedy, she plays high tragedy, she sings, she dances, she pulled it off." Satine was a completely different character to anyone Nicole had ever played before. Previously thought of as an 'ice-queen', Nicole let loose as Satine, showing off a side no-one knew she had. She played sexy, she played fun, she played romantic, she played drama, she played tragedy. Nicole went through all the emotions with Satine and pulled it off with such energy and aplomb. An awe-inspiring performance.

The Scene

The defining scene for Nicole's character in this project - the poetry reading scene.

Satine: "This is a wonderful place for a poetry reading ... don't you think. Poetic. Enough. For you."
Satine: "A little supper, maybe some champagne?"
Christian: "I'd rather just get it over and done with."
Satine: "Oh. Very well! Then why don't you, come down here, and let's 'get it over and done with'."
Christian: "I prefer to do it standing..."
Satine: "Oh!"
Christian: "You don't have to stand, I mean, sometimes ... it's quite long! I'd like you to be comfortable... it's quite modern what I do! And it may feel a little strange at first, but I think if you're open then you might enjoy it!"
Satine: "I'm sure I will!"
Christian: [starts to mutter poetry] "The sky is ... very blue... "
[Satine starts panting and making noises]
[Christian continues muttering to himself]
Satine: "Um, is everything alright?"
Christian: "Uh, a little nervous, it's just sometimes it takes a while for ... inspiration to come..."
Satine: "Oh yes yes yes ... let Mummy help..."
[Satine grabs Christian's crotch]
Satine: "Does that 'inspire' you?"
[Satine throws Christian onto the bed]
Satine: "Let's make love!"
Christian: "Make love?"
Satine: "You want to, don't you?"
Christian: "Well, I ... I came to ... "
Satine: "Tell the truth, you feel the poetry..."
Satine: "Oh! Come on! Breathe it, tiger!"
[Satine squeals, pants and makes tiger noises, and rips his trousers]
Satine: [gasps] "Big boy!"
Satine: "Yes I need your poetry, now! "
[Christian pulls away from the bed]
Christian: "It's a little bit funny..."
Satine: "What?"
Christian: "... this feeling inside. I'm not one of those who can easily hide... Is this ok, is this what you want?"
Satine: "Poetry? Yes, yes... yes this is what I want! Naughty words!"
[Satine laughs]
Satine: "Oh! Naughty! Oh!"
Christian: "I don't have much money, but... boy if I did, I'd buy a big house ... where we both could live..."
[Satine continues shrieking, groaning and proclaiming that she loves it]
Satine: "Oh that is so good! Wonderful! "
Christian: "A sculpture... but then again no... a man who makes potions like that travelling... "
Satine: [writhing around on the floor] "Don't stop... No no no don't stop!"
Christian: "I know it's not much ... "
Satine: "Give me more! YES! YES! YES! YES! NAUGHTY! DON'T STOP! YES! "
Christian: "... but it's the best I can do ... "
Satine: "YEEEESS..."
Christian: [sings] "My gift is my song .... and this one's for you..."
[Satine stops, sits up, and stares...]

The Cast

Baz Luhrmann: ""What I wanted at the heart of it was magnificent actors who could use their song to tell the story."

Like those working inside the Moulin Rouge, Moulin Rouge's cast is made up of an international team of actors and actresses! Baz stayed true to his roots by using several Australian actors in the film, including Richard Roxburgh as The Duke. Carrying the film and taking us on Christian's journey into adulthood was Scottish actor Ewan McGregor. Known for a risky and varied career, Ewan is probably best known for his role in the cult classic Trainspotting, and has also been seen in more Hollywood fare such as Angels & Demons, Down With Love, and Star Wars. He's worked with Nicole's good friends Naomi Watts and Renee Zellweger twice each. Nicole and Ewan struck up a strong friendship and professional relationship, knowing they would need to stick together to be able to give the best performances possible - "It was great to work with him. Straight away we had a tacit agreement that we'd support each other throughout, taking risks, and be willing to make complete fools of ourselves in front of each other. The great thing about working on Moulin Rouge is that people are saying, 'Let's try something different' and we've connected wholeheartedly to it - that's what made this project so fulfilling." Like Nicole, Ewan showed off a singing voice that no-one knew he had, and it bought him new fans, including his leading lady - "Every time Ewan sings I'm more in love with him," Nicole swoons! Ewan won several awards for his performance as Christian, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Ewan has since said he'd love to do another musical with Nicole ... let's keep our fingers crossed!

Playing the larger-than-life Moulin Rouge owner, Harold Zidler, is British actor Jim Broadbent. With an extensive career in British film and television behind him, 2001 was a highly successful year for Broadbent - not only starring in this musical and winning a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for it, and taking home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in a slightly different type of film from the same year, Iris. He has recently been seen in the Harry Potter movies, the two Bridget Jones movies, and Hot Fuzz. He won an Emmy in 2001 for The Gathering Storm.

American-Colombian actor John Leguizamo plays the loveable bohemian dwarf Toulouse-Lautrec. Toulouse-Lautrec gets Christian involved in their play in the movie, and plays a pivotal role in the end of the movie, reminding Christian what the greatest thing in the world is - love. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was in fact a real person, and was a French painter and artist who lived during the latter half of the 1800's. Leguizamo has been steadily busy in the year since Moulin Rouge, recently being seen in The Lincoln Lawyer and TV's ER ... and being heard in the Ice Age movies.

Rounding out the main cast is Richard Roxburgh as The Duke. Hailing from Down Under, Roxburgh has worked in several Australia stage, film and tv productions, including his breakout role in tv series Blue Murder. Interestingly, he starred in Mission: Impossible II, which filmed in Sydney around the same time as Moulin Rouge, and of course starred Nic's then-husband. His most recent film release was 2010's Sanctum. Roxburgh won the Australian Film Institute for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role as the wicked Duke.

Interesting cast notes: Audrey, the writer who was replaced by Christian, was played by Aussie actor David Wenham, who later starred in Australia as Neil Fletcher; Natalie Mendoza who played the China Doll auditioned for the role of Satine; and Jacek Koman who played the narcoleptic Argentinian was also recruited for Australia, playing Ivan.

Casting and Filming

Nicole Kidman: "I loved making 'Moulin Rouge.' It was kind of like giving birth to a baby, it was a really hard film to make, Baz (director Baz Luhrmann) and Ewan and (everyone) worked so hard on it. That was a role that I know I will never get again. I am just appreciative that it is a part of my body of work. And to do a musical that seemed to be so bold in what we were going to try and do."

Moulin Rouge, as you can imagine, took a long time to develop. Director Baz Luhrmann said he first got inspiration for something like this when he and wife Catherine Martin went to see a Bollywood movie in India. He wondered whether this would work as a musical in the western culture. His plan then became to make Romeo + Juliet, and then do a musical. Baz had a clear vision for the film, and stated that his "singular mission has been to find a way of making the musical cinema work again for this time and this place." "As a kid I loved musicals and that idea that you saw an artificial film that made you FEEL, the fact that all of the audience was involved in the story. To a certain extent, Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet ARE musicals, so we've just taken a final leap, really, towards a breakout in songs in movie in the use of musicals to tell a story," he says.

Several actors, actresses, and even musicians were auditioned and considered for the film before Nicole and Ewan McGregor were finalised. Renee Zellweger, Sharleen Spiteri, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and even Courtney Love tried out for Satine, and Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger auditioned for Christian. Baz went to see Nicole on Broadway in The Blue Room, and sent her some red roses and a note telling her about the role. Unsurprisingly, Nicole said that typically if she was approached with a musical she'd say no, but when she found out Baz Luhrmann, who had previously directed Romeo + Juliet and Strictly Ballroom, was making it, she thought it would be interesting. "His whole idea was to take the genre and re-invent it". She was also excited to go back to Australia and work with some of the same crew she'd worked with when she was 15. And her then-husband was also working in Sydney at the time, so they were able to make it work for their family. Extensive auditions and workshops were held during the casting process. Baz auditioned Nicole with several actors, but wanted to see what she was like with Ewan McGregor - there were obviously sparks, and they were cast as Satine and Christian. "When I got the role, I was absolutely floored and so excited because it meant being able to do something so unusual," Nicole says.

Filming began in late 1999, and completed in May 2000, and was filmed solely at the Fox Studios in Sydney. A surprisingly short filming time? "Baz is fast – he wants to shoot a lot and get a lot," Nicole explains. Filming was halted when Nicole broke two ribs and her knee when filming a dance scene early on. The show must go on though, and Nicole healed well enough to continue filming. "She's got that spirit I think her parents gave her, to pick yourself up and try again -- that old-fashioned, hold-your-chin-high kind of thing," her director praised her for.

One of the many challenges Nicole faced in this film was the singing, something she had never done on screen before. The cast were required to sing a lot of the songs live, because Baz believed it would maintain the intensity of the scene - something which Nicole found embarrassing in front of 600 extras! But once she got into character, put on her costume, she was ok and lost her inhibitions. She adds that "it’s hard when you’re crying and singing and trying to stay in the right key and the right timing without accompaniment." Baz's intensive pre-production process helped with challenges like this though: "What's so brilliant about Baz, is that he pushes you early on in the piece, so by the time you start to film you're so comfortable with what you're doing that you're ready to try anything." Nicole was also surprised by the power of the song, and how it be used to express emotions sometimes words can't, saying "I think in some ways love can be expressed through music in ways that it can't in other genres." Once inside the recording studio Nicole was surprised to find that you can approach singing the same way you can acting, by exploring and finding ways to use your voice in different ways. Every note you hear them sing in the film was their real voices, and Fred Baron, a music producer on the film, was "knocked out" by Nicole's voice.

"There were times when Ewan and I doubted him [Baz]," Nicole admits, "We'd think, there's no way he's going to make this high comedy work with tragedy. But you do it because you want to be in something that's a risk." Nicole clearly relished this once in a lifetime experience, and said that "it was really one of those very unusual, but creative, and really satisfying, experiences." She even enjoyed the intense rehearsals - "It was like drama school all over again, because we had singing class and dance class. Then we'd have a coffee break and we'd be off doing improvisational stuff. We also lived in this big house and it was drama school all over again." Nicole smiles when she says it's a "very different" kind of movie-making experience working with Baz Luhrmann! Ewan McGregor describes the final result as a "feast for the eyes".

So what does Nicole think of the Moulin Rouge club? "It's still a very exciting notion to be able to go to a club where you can loose your identity, get lost and live out your fantasies, and that's what the Moulin Rouge was."

Release & Reception

Moulin Rouge had a full-on, intense promotional tour starting in May 2001. The tour was kicked off with a premiere in New York, in which Nicole looked stunning and almost gothic in a white dress and smoky make-up. The cast and crew then flew to Cannes to present their film on opening night, posing for the press in the beautiful town in the South of France and walking the famous red carpet up to the Palais des Festivals. Appearances followed in Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Berlin and Tokyo. The promotional appearances for the film ended with an AMPAS Screening of the film in LA in November 2001. As well as all of those public appearances, Nicole was 2001's favourite cover girl, appearing on various editions of Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Esquire, Interview, Vanity Fair and In Style.

The massive promotional tour for the film was important, because it was not a film that people would readily consider going to see, Nicole explained. The most impressive thing about the promotion, was that it started just months after the breakdown of Nicole's marriage and the news of her miscarriage. Nicole admits she is painfully shy, so to be undertaking such a massive tour by herself for the first time, and at a time of such turmoil in her life, must've been something she would've wanted to avoid. But she found the strength to do it, saying "I could have said, 'I'm not doing any press for this film. See ya later. I'm not coming out until I am completely healed'. But I don't know if that will ever happen. It's been awful, but I will move forward day by day. I'm dealing with this, and I find I'm stronger than I thought." Nicole was not alone during the tour though, as her sister Antonia joined her, with the twosome walking the red carpet at Cannes together holding hands. The grace and dignity with which Nicole conducted herself during the promotion, is nothing short of inspirational. Baz Luhrmann has said that the film is about growing up, and making that transition into adulthood, and that was certainly something Nicole could relate to when taking part in the promotional tour for the film - "I've said so much over the last five months of me has been about growing up - in terms of having to learn to deal with a lot."

While Nicole's popularity soared, the film itself received very mixed reviews - which was to be expected, as those involved knew it wasn't something that would match everyone's tastes. Baz Luhrmann explains the course of the reception of this film perfectly, speaking in 2001 about his films: "It would not open in a spectacular way, and then it would go around the globe, gather momentum, and eventually it would take on this very committed audience. The audience would discover it." Moulin Rouge is fast moving, brightly coloured and greatly over the top, meaning it's not for everyone. Baz acknowledges the strife you can go through to get your movie seen, but notes that he did not go out there and ask people to vote for the film at the big awards events, but he just wanted to get as many people to see it as possible.

The Washington Post praised the movie for being a spectacle: "It's a wonderful postmodern hug of a movie, and never once do you not know you're watching a movie. But that's the point: Not to lose yourself in the movie, but to be brightly aware of your participation as a viewer. In Luhrmann's vision, that's what the movies are about." think Baz suceeded in his aim to re-invigorate the musical genre and produce something new, saying "Musicals are already a hard sell in this cynical day and age, let alone one that dares to take the genre to even greater escapist extremes. But it’s that very quality that will win the film its share of admirers, and rightfully so. As with any experiment, certain choices along the way in “Moulin Rouge!” simply fail, but what counts is the end product–and what ultimately comes through is an undeniably imaginative work that is a glorious testament to the limitless and largely untapped possibilities of cinema." And several reviewers praised Nicole's commitment to the role, something the BBC said of which, "’s Kidman who steals the movie with a devastating display of sultry allure. Watching her commit herself body and soul to Luhrmann’s bizarre vision makes it easy to overlook the film’s structural deficiencies and its tendency to sacrifice emotional resonance for stylistic bombast." But with the good comes the bad, and some didn't appreciate the over stylistic movie and criticised it for choosing visuals over story. Variety's review thought that "the love story never truly takes on a life of its own that rouses viewer emotion and becomes moving in its own right. Tale is so clearly a synthetic recycling of "La Boheme" elements that the characters remain constructs, exaggerated caricatures that are vibrant yet bloodless."

Made for an estimated $52m, Moulin Rouge made $13m on it's wide opening in the US, over £2m on opening weekend in the UK, and a total of $57m in the US. It's foreign gross was double that, at $121m. The film made an impressive $179m worldwide. It was the 22nd highest grossing film worldwide in 2001.

The hype around the film made it a big contender for the Oscars, and received 8 nominations in total, including Nicole's first ever nomination for Best Actress! While Baz was disappointed he was not acknowledged in the Best Director category, he admits he cried when Nicole received her nomination! There was some out-cry when the one original song in the film - Come What May - was not nominated for Original Song, but it was revealed that the song was actually originally written for Romeo & Juliet. On the big night itself, Nic graced the red carpet in a feminine pale pink Chanel dress with an impressive set of Bulgari diamonds (that she helped to design) round her neck - much like Satine's! Antonia again accompanied her sister on her big night. Nicole lost out on Best Actress to Halle Berry, but Moulin Rouge took home the awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design. Nic was awarded with the Golden Globe award for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical, and Moulin Rouge was named Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. The film, and Nicole, received numerous other nominations during the 2001-2 awards season.

We all know Moulin Rouge is one of those films you either love or hate, but despite that, it's hard to deny its lasting effect and legacy, and has since become a classic film of our time, with Satine and Christian often being cited as one of the great romances seen in film history.

Fans' Thoughts

Melanie - She sings, she dances, and well, unfortunately, she dies, but that is just part of this amazing love story. Honestly, I don’t know where to begin to explain my love for this movie. Nicole was amazing. I mean, she always is, but this performance was, by far, one of her best, hands down. Not only was her acting superb, but Nicole showed us a side that we had never really seen before; her singing and dancing side. From what we saw, it seemed as if she pulled it off effortlessly, but we know that is far from the truth. Many hours, days, and months were put into that performance and it definitely paid off in the end. Ewan McGregor was just as good. The onscreen chemistry between him and Nicole was amazing and it really brought the whole story to life. The movie itself was just all around amazing. Between the actors, the music, costumes, etc, it doesn’t get much better than that. One of the best movies of all time.

Alyssa - A beast, a creature, some living thing that now breathes and sleeps and lives in the underbelly of those hopeless romantics who will listen, Moulin Rouge! is a film that requires the same interaction as you and I - patience, love, imagination, and the occasional argument. It is a film that has dragged me into this clandestine underworld that it so vividly speaks of, a world that wreaks of a darkness that surges life into your veins. Though I've yet to return, if ever, I'm comforted with the knowledge that I will still be heard, be felt by those hopeless romantics - the only ones who will listen.

Anna - Honestly, this movie has just got to be Nicole's best performance yet! I really think she deserved the nomination for the Oscars that year. She was just very natural and fabulously superb! There's not enough words to describe how much I love this movie. I will truly always love it. It's such an old tale about star-crossed lovers -- modernized into a musical of comics. It's really funny, hilarious, dramatic, tragic, adventurous, and sad. It's a complete hit with every element in it's plate and that's why I think it worked! The chemistry between Ewan and Nicole was very visible. They are just too believable to be Satine & Christian. It's a testament of love, for all of us who believes that the greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.

Jime - [I love Moulin Rouge because...] it's passionate.

Vanessa - I love Moulin Rouge for so many reasons. It's just a real genius and my favourite kind of movie. I love the story, characters and music so much. Simply toucjing, passionate and amazing!

Carla - Nicole is absolutely stunning in this film, once more her acting is flawless as McGregor is equally charismatic and heartbreaking. It is a magnificent musical that makes me experience all type of emotions, from laughter to sorrow. The movie takes musicals to a level never before experienced and the songs and choreography are beyond amazing. This spectacular production cannot fail to impress, especially if you believe in freedom, beauty, truth, and above all, love. Moulin Rouge, electric Cannes opener.


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Welcome to Nicole's Magic
Welcome to Nicole's Magic, a fansite for the spectacular spectacular Academy Award winning Australian actress Nicole Kidman. Nicole is one of the most sought-after actresses of her generation, and is known for her roles in Moulin Rouge, The Hours and To Die For, and can now be seen in the highly acclaimed Rabbit Hole, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

Nicole's Magic is the largest and most comprehensive fansite for Nicole, and, come what may, is completely dedicated to supporting her and her career, and keeping the fans up to date with all that she's doing. Comments, suggestions, sparkling diamonds, elephant love medleys and contributions are always more than welcomed so please contact me if you have anything to say. Enjoy your visit, add us to your Favourites and come back again soon!

We <3 Moulin Rouge
Celebrating all that is Moulin Rouge for it's 10th anniversary this year!

"whether then you connect to it or don't connect to it, get it or don't get it, it's still something you that you go, this is brash and it's brave and it's kind of - I mean - as an actor it is so fun to be in a movie like that." - Nicole Kidman on the mixed reviews Moulin Rouge received

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Movie Of The Month - June 2011

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