Baz Luhrmann will release an expanded, reimagined version of his 2008 film Australia, which he’s reconfigured into a serialised television series.
Titled Faraway Downs, after the cattle station that the film centres around, the six-part series will contain additional footage that was shot for the film but not used. It will feature an alternate ending – Luhrmann had previously said that three possible conclusions were shot for the film – along with an updated soundtrack.
Though a release date for Faraway Downs has not yet been announced, a winter premiere has been earmarked. It will premiere on Hulu in the US, and Starz+ and Disney+ in other markets. Also unknown at this point is how long each of the six instalments will be; Australia runs for two hours and 45 minutes.
“I originally set out to take the notion of the sweeping Gone with the Wind style epic and turn it on its head,” said Luhrmann in a press statement. “A way of using romance and epic drama to shine a light on the roles of First Nations people and the painful scar in Australian history of the ‘Stolen Generations’.
“While Australia the film has its own life, there was another telling of this story; one with different layers, nuances and even alternative plot twists that an episodic format has allowed us to explore. Drawn from the same material, Faraway Downs is a new variation on Australia for audiences to discover.”
Australia, Luhrmann’s fourth feature film, was set against the backdrop of World War II, taking place between 1939 and 1942. It starred Nicole Kidman as an English aristocrat who inherits the Faraway Downs cattle ranch following her husband’s death, joining a local cattle drover played by Hugh Jackman to take care of the property.
Other prominent characters include the young boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), who has an Aboriginal mother and a white father, and is subject to the government’s Stolen Generation policy of child removal.
Luhrmann has directed two films since Australia was released – 2013’s The Great Gatsby and Elvis Presley biopic Elvis, which premiered in cinemas earlier this month.