Baz Lurhmann commands the stage at MAX with his high level energy and humor. In conversation with Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes, Baz discusses his journey from small town kid to big Hollywood director, what makes him tick and what inspires him.
Baz Luhrmann grew up in rural Australia. He first became enthralled by the world of movies and the power of storytelling at his father’s theatre. He also encountered a variety of interesting people while working at the local gas station, and Luhrmann went on to use these experiences as a source for his own creativity. His most notable works to date are the three films that make up his Red Curtain Trilogy. The Red Curtain style of filmmaking was devised by Luhrmann to actively promote audience participation, and the third movie in the trilogy, Moulin Rouge! (2001), has been his most successful film to date.
Luhrmann’s next filmic effort was the multi-themed Australia (2008), starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman; it unleashed a fierce national debate over its historical accuracy, though its director had not intended a documentary. Luhrmann’s following project was a series of eight short videos—featuring Judy Davis as fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who died in 1973, and contemporary designer Miuccia Prada—made in conjunction with New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.”
In 2013 Luhrmann released The Great Gatsby, his much-anticipated version of American icon F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name. The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio (in his second Luhrmann vehicle) as the title character. It had Luhrmann’s distinctive stamp, not only in its narrative twist—the novel’s narrator, Nick Carraway, is portrayed in the film as the author of the novel—but in its often vertiginous camera work, operatic scenes, anachronistic musical score, and general embrace of excess.
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