Biography of Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann is an Australian film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is known for his depictions of epic romances as well as his vivid, sometimes frenetic, and often over-the-top artistic vision. His most famous films include Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!, all of which make up his "Red Curtain Trilogy." His other films include Australia and The Great Gatsby.

Luhrmann was born in Sydney, Australia in 1962 to a mother who taught ballroom dancing and ran a dress store, and a man who ran a gas station. After studying acting, he chose to pursue a directing career. He first directed stage productions, before transitioning into film directing. His first theater production was a stage version of Strictly Ballroom, which received much acclaim. He then turned Strictly Ballroom into a film, which became the first installment of a trilogy that would be known as the "Red Curtain Trilogy." While the films are not connected by a narrative thread, they each tackle a different artistic discipline. Strictly Ballroom deals with dance, Romeo + Juliet employs poetry and language, and Moulin Rouge! is a pastiche musical that uses song.

Luhrmann followed the trilogy up with the film Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. He then went on to direct the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved novel The Great Gatsby. The film polarized critics, but was one of his biggest box office successes, grossing over $350 million. Luhrmann cites grand Italian opera and Bollywood films as among his major influences, and he has been nominated for BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and awards at Cannes. Notably, and somewhat controversially, he has never himself been nominated for an Academy Award.

Study Guides on Works by Baz Luhrmann

Perhaps no other work by William Shakespeare—and certainly none of the Bard’s tragedies—has been adapted for the stage or screen in a looser manner than Romeo and Juliet. The popularity of the play and its expansive potential for adaptation is in...