Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star in director Baz Luhrmann’s sweeping epic ‘Australia.’ Kidman plays an aristocratic English woman: Jackman is a tough cattle drover. Two people from opposite ends of the globe – they couldn’t be more different – yet they find their lives inextricably intertwined as they embark on a remarkable journey across hundreds of miles of the country’s most brutal terrain.
Q: Is your character simply known as The Drover?
A: “My character is called The Drover. He is essentially an outsider; in his back story he was married to an Aboriginal woman who died. It was illegal to marry an Aboriginal woman back then, so you were not accepted in white society, however you were not fully accepted into Aboriginal society either because you are were white. So he was truly an outsider. He became known as the best drover around. He does actually have a name but you are going to have to watch the movie to find out what that is.”
Q: Can you talk about The Drover’s relationship with Nicole Kidman?
A: Baz has been very open about it, making comparisons to “The African Queen,” as “Out of Africa” and “Gone with the Wind.” If you put those epic films in a melting pot, I think you’ll understand the relationship pretty well. Nicole and I have known each other for almost 15 years. She was best friends with my wife and we know each other well, so it was really terrific to work together.”
Q: Obviously this film means so much on a personal level, what are your own Australian roots?
A: “Both my parents are English and came out to Australia in 1967 and I was born the following year. My parents and immigrants like them were known as what was called ‘ten pound poms’ because back then the Australian Government were trying to get educated English people and Canadians (to be honest, educated white people) to come and live in Australia. So they offered them citizenship and a whole load of incentives. For the very small, meager sum of ten pounds you could sail your entire family out to Australia, so that’s what my father chose to do.”
Q: What was it like getting your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame recently?
A: “I will be honest, I was touched by it. I am an Australian so that whole idea of the Hollywood star is a dream. We have all seen it a million times and of course I have been there and seen the hands. I remember going to see all the names of the great movie stars years ago. And my first reaction when they told me it was happening to me was shock. I thought ‘don’t they know I am just a kid from the Northern suburbs of Sydney? Why are they giving one to me?’ It was a time to go ‘wow’ and remind myself that this was a moment to remember. My dad does not usually say much, but he hugged me and I think he was really proud. It meant a lot to me, yes.”