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Who I was then: Baz Luhrmann

The Aussie director remembers shooting 1996’s ”Romeo + Juliet” on a shoestring budget

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I attacked Romeo + Juliet in the most aggressive way. People don’t realize Leonardo [DiCaprio] had to come to Australia for no money. He wasn’t paid — he flew coach with his friends — and he stayed a week and shot scenes to convince [20th Century Fox] to make the film. Goodness gracious, the making of that film was a bit like shooting [Werner Herzog’s] Fitzcarraldo on a Rolling Stones tour in the ’60s. Imagine Leonardo, Jamie Kennedy, John Leguizamo, down in Mexico [where the movie was eventually filmed] for six months, making something that was considered radical, on a shoestring budget, in storms.