On the day he turns 52 we made a list of our seven favourite things about Oz’s most famous director, Baz Luhrmann
Baz is famous for his 1999 #1 hit, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, a remix of the classic “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” which samples Mary Schmich’s 1997 column, “Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young”. With such nuggets of wisdom as “Don’t worry about the future, or know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind the kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday” it’s the perfect imaginary commencement speech.
His fabulous taste in music
Baz has consistently produced soundtracks for his films which sit in the happy place between eclectic and bizarre. He soundtracked his 2012 Great Gatsby with songs by Beyonce and Jay-Z, and is personally responsible for my first introduction to Prince, via his cover of “When Doves Cry”, sung by a choirboy in Romeo + Juliet.
His excessively decadent vision
In Moulin Rouge Nicole Kidman lives in a giant elephant and swings through a bedazzled club in a bejewelled, feathered corset. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Baz decided to adapt the finest ode to decadence in the literary canon, The Great Gatsby. It’s a feast for the eyes unlike anything else in film.
He opened up Shakespeare to a whole generation with his astonishing re-imagining of the bard’s classic: Romeo + Juliet – still one of the best Shakespeare productions ever.
His commitment to high fashion
He’s married to Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin and he got Miuccia Prada to design the costumes for The Great Gatsby. ‘Nuff said really.
His truly spectacular casting choices
I don’t think any of us will ever get over our teen crushes on Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo.
His mammoth three hour epic Australia acted as both an ode to his beautiful homeland, as well as a wonderfully entertaining piece of melodrama, spanning topics as vast as racism, cattle farming and the second world war.
Words: Maya Hambro