‘Rouge’ crowd talks to audience

Front row femme gets lucky at Q&A

HOLLYWOOD — Director Baz Luhrmann, who has tirelessly stumped for Fox’s “Moulin Rouge,” came to the Egyptian Theater with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor Monday to participate in a panel discussion.

Moderator Peter Bart, Daily Variety editor-in-chief, started things by saying Luhrmann once told him, “Man doesn’t live by opening nights alone, but he has opened this film everywhere from Tucson to Taiwan.” He then asked Luhrmann to explain his “crusade.”

The “short answer,” something the director admitted he’d never given in his life, was: “My job is to get everything I can to pay the bill to the creative freedom fund.” Then he told the enthusiastic crowd at the American Cinematheque event, “My job is to do everything I can to get audiences to connect to my work.”

“Moulin Rouge,” Luhrmann said, “was up against ‘Mummy 2’ in the middle of ‘Pearl Harbor.’ Japanese Zeroes were in my nightmares.”

Star Kidman said she had no fears when she committed to the pic, even though Luhrmann had no script to show her, just a book of pictures and ideas. “The trepidation came later when I had to deliver for my director.”

However, Monday evening there were only jokes and laughter as one front-row femme asked McGregor for a kiss (and got it, to the envy of many others in the audience) and another offered a long, rambling question asking if the actor thought about acting in the post-modern era and got a short but polite “No” in response.

Luhrmann talked about the coming DVD (at Christmas) and the sequel to the soundtrack (in February). “The DVD is my relationship to film,” he said.

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