It took Baz Luhrmann more than four years to develop Moulin Rouge, his phantasmagoric ode to Hollywood musicals of yore, and he still can’t let go of it. In addition to rereleasing his spectacular to theaters as hopeful Oscar bait, Luhrmann has created and produced his film’s DVD, the first director to do so. We called the jet-lagged Luhrmann in his native Australia to get the lowdown under.
These days, DVDs are being released with ridiculous amounts of extras, making your six hours seem comparatively tame. You know when someone invites you over for a slide show of their holiday?
They include all the slides, but only three of them are great. It’s the difference between four hours of truly selected material and 20 hours of junk.
What made you want to oversee the Moulin Rouge DVD yourself?
I was there in the beginning of the process…so I tried to let the audience behind the red curtain of making this movie over four years. I think I just want our audience to have as rich an experience of Moulin Rouge as possible.
So how did the magic of DVD enable you to enrich the experience?
[We] had to be extremely disciplined about reducing the elaborate and lush dance sequences to tell the story [in theaters]. Now, in the DVD, we fully extend those sequences with total indulgence.
What other film would you want to produce the DVD for?
Citizen Kane. [Orson] Welles worked in the same style that I do. Why don’t you put a plug in and say if they’re thinking of doing it, I’m available. [Editor’s note: Kane is already on DVD, but why spoil such a charming fantasy?]