Moviemaker Baz Luhrmann, born in Australia this day in 1962, usually elicits two responses from his audiences: they either walk out after five minutes or sit through it all and know every line by heart. Fast-motion photography, men in drag, soaring musical number–these are the Luhrmann trademarks, and what make the writer-director-producer as polarizing as many working in Hollywood today. Making ballroom dancing hip before “Dancing with the Stars,” Luhrmann’s first movie was the Cannes award-winner Strictly Ballroom in 1992. In 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, he turned the Montagues and Capulets into L.A. gangsters, firing gunshots and proclaiming love to an alterna-rock soundtrack while keeping the original iambic pentameter intact. Next up was Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Moulin Rouge! (2001), an ode to the legendary Paris cabaret.
Coming Attractions: Next up for Baz Luhrmann is the drama Australia featuring fellow Australians Hugh Jackman and his Moulin Rouge! star Nicole Kidman. The feature is expected to hit theaters in 2008.