Nowadays, it’s not enough to simply make a television series from a popular movie. No, in the age of streaming, feature-length movies that might’ve performed poorly in theaters are given more footage and broken down into episodic format for easy binge-watching. And the latest film getting this treatment is Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 flop, Australia, which has been expanded and cut into the new Hulu miniseries, Faraway Downs.
The Nicole Kidman/Hugh Jackman is a sweeping romance about an English aristocrat who falls for a cattle rancher in the Australian Outback. When the film was released it came with a lot of fanfare, but ultimately made a little over $200M worldwide on a budget of at least $130M.
However, Australia has lived on as one of those movies that many believe got a bad rap. Following Luhrmann’s more successful films Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, the expectations were perhaps too high for Australia to reach. And so Luhrmann did something to try and fix it during the pandemic, taking left over footage and cobbling it together with the established stuff to construct this six-part series.
Here’s the synopsis: The story centers on an English aristocrat, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) who travels halfway across the world to confront her wayward husband and sell an unusual asset: a million-acre cattle ranch in the Australian Outback called ‘Faraway Downs’. Following the death of her husband, a ruthless Australian cattle baron, King Carney (Bryan Brown), plots to take her land and she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover (Hugh Jackman) to protect her ranch. The sweeping adventure romance is explored through the eyes of young Nullah (Brandon Walters), a bi-racial Indigenous Australian child caught up in the government’s draconian racial policy now referred to as the “Stolen Generations.” Together, the trio experiences four life-altering years, a love affair between Lady Ashley and the Drover, and the unavoidable impact of World War II on Northern Australia.
Faraway Downs hits Hulu on November 26th.