Baz Luhrmann Makes a Return Trip to 'Australia' in the Trailer for Six-Part Miniseries 'Faraway Downs'

"With over two-million feet of film from the original piece, my team and I were able to revisit anew the central themes of the work."
Sarah Ward
October 20, 2023

Seeing movies get the TV treatment isn't a new trend. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer and What We Do in the Shadows to Fargo, plus everything from Irma Vep and Dead Ringers to A League of Their Own and Interview with the Vampire as well, there's no shortage of examples (and that's before getting into Marvel's and Star Wars' shows). But when Baz Luhrmann's Australia hits the small screen, it'll be doing a few things differently. Firstly, it has a new name. Secondly, it's been fashioned out of originally shot footage back when the flick was made — so it's turning the film into television quite literally.

That series: Faraway Downs, a six-parter that was first announced in 2022, is closing the first-ever SXSW Sydney Screen Festival and is destined for Disney+ Down Under from Sunday, November 26. Wondering how that might turn out, even if you've seen Australia? There's now a Faraway Downs trailer.

For 15 years, Australia has inspired a particular train of thought when it comes to Luhrmann's movies: they can't all be good ones, even if almost all of them are. Australia is the one outlier on his resume — the one film that doesn't live up to the spectacular Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby and Elvis — so that's where the tinkering and reimagining as Faraway Downs comes in.

"I was inspired to re-approach my film Australia to create Faraway Downs because of the way episodic storytelling has been reinvigorated by the streaming world," said Luhrmann.

"With over two-million feet of film from the original piece, my team and I were able to revisit anew the central themes of the work."

Combining two of the nation's biggest actors with one of its biggest filmmakers, Faraway Downs still stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, of course. If you need a refresher on Australia's plot — and therefore the new episodic version's plot, too — it follows English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman, The Northman) after she comes into possession of an Aussie cattle ranch. To save it from cattle barons, she enlists the help of a drover (Jackman, The Son). That's just the overall gist, however, given that the sprawling movie also spans World War II and its impact, as well as the country's historical treatment of Indigenous Australians.

Fittingly given the OG name — and as usually proves the case with Luhrmann's flicks — the cast includes a who's who of homegrown talent. As well as Kidman and Jackman, plus Brandon Walters (Mystery Road) as Nullah, everyone from Essie Davis (Nitram) and Bryan Brown (Hungry Ghosts) to Ben Mendelsohn (Secret Invasion), Jack Thompson (High Ground) and David Wenham (Elvis) features, as does the now-late David Gulpilil (Storm Boy) and Bill Hunter (The Cup).

Check out the trailer for Faraway Downs below:

Faraway Downs streams in Australia and New Zealand via Disney+ from Sunday, November 26 — after closing the 2023 SXSW Sydney Screen Festival on Saturday, October 21.

Published on October 20, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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