FEATURE MOULIN ROUGE

ROUGE IS THE COLOUR

Nicole and Ewan as Moulin Rouge's would-be lovers

Okay, so it’s a musical and, as a genre, they're not that popular. But with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor as the leads and Baz Luhrmann at the helm, the amazing Moulin Rouge will have audiences clammering for more!

TEXT BY JOHN MILLARREVIEW HERE

From Film Review Oct 2001

Ewan McGregor makes no attempt to hide the fact that there’s a great big chunk of rock ’n’ roll in his personality. Anyone who saw the movie could tell that the Scots star was more than in his element when he portrayed raunchy rocker Curt Wild in Velvet Goldmine.

One of the highlights of that glam rock extravaganza was Ewan’s explosive performance during a highly charged concert sequence. Now he’s grabbed the chance to hit the high notes again – and this time he’s involved in a whole series of pop classics. In Baz Luhrmann’s lavish, high-octane musical Moulin Rouge, Ewan performs versions of hits by Elton John, David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Paul McCartney. He even gets to duet with Placido Domingo!

Not surprisingly, Ewan, who plays a penniless writer who falls for a tragic showgirl (portrayed by Nicole Kidman), was thrilled to be given the opportunity by the director of the smash-hit version of Romeo + Juliet to do a bit of song and dance on the big screen. When he meets up with Film Review at the Dorchester Hotel in London, he admits that he regards his musical matinée idol role as one of the most exciting and rewarding of his career.

One of the many amazing routines"I've been waiting all my life to do this kind of singing and dancing. I was musical at school and used to dance when I was a kid," says the Scot whose roles in Trainspotting and The Phantom Menace turned him into a movie pin-up. "And I've always had a passion for the old Forties musicals. I drove everyone nuts on the set of Moulin Rouge because I was too excited. But I just felt that nobody's done this for years. Not like this."

Ewan and the rest of the cast - which also includes Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo and Australian actor Richard Roxburgh - spent about four months in rehearsal in Australia at Luhrmann's Sydney home, so that they would feel comfortable in the dazzling musical world that was being woven by Baz Luhrmann.

"By the time we started filming singing wasn't an issue. By doing all that rehearsing singing had become second nature," he says.

Singing and dancing on the big screen might have fulfilled a long-term ambition for the slim Scot, but it also meant, as he freely concedes, that he was putting himself out on a limb. He understood that cynical critics would be sharpening their pens, getting ready to point out any missed or duff notes...

Film Review Oct 2001 issue For the full feature, read on in #610 of Film Review...

Moulin Rouge opens September 7 and is distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film is reviewed here (it's our Film of the Month and critic Alan Jones's favourite film of the year so far!).

Images copyright: 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction.

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