I had this sketch of Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann in my ‘current’ folder for a few years, hoping for the chance that he may pop up at a premiere or press night… or my local Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the London premiere of his latest box office hit, ELVIS, but I did have the opportunity to catch him at the BFI in January this year. He was doing an ‘In Conversation’ piece. I missed him going in and he was rushed out afterwards, running late for another engagement, apologising, but couldn’t stop to sign. However, I discovered the main reason for him being in London was to attend the press night at the Piccadilly Theatre for the Musical MOULIN ROUGE!, based on his revolutionary 2001 film. I was determined to catch him there and through good fortune and a very kind security person, did so. We had a brief chat and he was more than happy to sign my drawing for me. Mission accomplished… out of current working folder, processed, filed and onto this post.
Originally bursting on to the scene with the Red Curtain Trilogy: STRICTLY BALLROOM (1992), William Shakespeare’s ROMEO+JULIET (1996) and MOULIN ROUGE! (2001), Baz is, to quote the BFI’s event blurb, “a master storyteller and pioneer of pop culture working across film,opera, theatre, events and music. His signature blend of fantasy, romance and decadence fuses high and low culture, a unique sonic and cinematic language and trademark theatrical aesthetic that continuously captivates audiences and ignites imaginations around. His most recent film, ELVIS, an exhilarating, whirlwind biopic of the legendary King of Rock and Roll, landed as the second-highest grossing musical biopic of all time, globally and his highest grossing film of all time in the UK.”
Baz’s six feature films have collected 66 award nominations, resulting in 39 wins, with more to follow as ELVIS gains momentum and nominations heading into the crunch end of the Awards season.
MOULIN ROUGE! was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award in 2002. He has received seven BAFTA noms, winning two-Direction and Adapted Screenplay for ROMEO+JULIET. He has four Grammy nominations and won the Best Musical Tony award in 2020 for MOULIN ROUGE!
His original christian names, Mark Anthony were changed by deed poll to ‘Bazmark’ joining his nickname ‘Baz’ and his birth monikers; so called because his hairstyle resembled the puppet Basil Brush. Baz has certainly made a name for himself since.