This ‘New’ Nicole Kidman Hulu Series Isn’t What You Think
A buzzy new miniseries on Hulu is confusing some viewers.
The newly release six-episode series, Faraway Downs, stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman as an English aristocrat and rugged cattle drover, respectively, who navigate life and love in the Australian Outback at the outset of World World II.
If that sounds strangely familiar to you, it's because it's literally the same plot as a 2008 movie starring both Kidman and Jackman.
In fact, the miniseries is that very same film.
Read on to find out more. Suffice to say, there are ***spoilers below!***
What Is Faraway Downs?
Faraway Downs is a six-episode miniseries directed by Baz Luhrmann. The miniseries is an episodic re-cut of the director's 2008 epic drama, Australia.
According to IMDb, the miniseries follows "an English aristocrat, Lady Sarah Ashley, who travels halfway across the world to confront her wayward husband and sell an unusual asset: a million-acre cattle ranch in the Australian Outback called 'Faraway Downs.' Following the death of her husband, a ruthless Australian cattle baron, King Carney, plots to take her land and she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover to protect her ranch."
Is Faraway Downs the Same Thing as Australia?
In a nutshell, yes. However, according to ScreenRant, Faraway Downs includes over 40 minutes of previously unreleased footage and deleted scenes Baz Luhrmann originally filmed for his 2008 movie but didn't make the final cut.
In addition, while neither Kidman nor Jackman filmed any new footage for the miniseries, they did record some fresh digital recordings (ADR) for the Hulu project.
The ending of Faraway Downs is also slightly different than the ending of the film Australia.
What's the Difference Between Faraway Downs and Australia?
The original ending of Australia sees Lady Ashley and Drover survive Japan's 1942 attack on Darwin, and they stay together to pursue a romantic relationship.
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Aside from the addition of some previously unreleased scenes and footage, Faraway Downs has a less happy ending than Australia, as one of the story's key characters (who survived in the film) dies in the final episode.
Who Dies at the End of Faraway Downs?
The ending of Faraway Downs differs from Australia in that Drover (Hugh Jackman) is killed following Japan's attack on Darwin in World War II, leaving Lady Ashley on her own.
"The ending at the time, through the whole process of getting it out into the U.S., was also the time of the economic crash. Everyone had end-of-the-world feelings. And I think I was just wondering if this would just be too much tragedy," Luhrmann told Variety about why he changed the ending between his film and the miniseries.
Why Did Baz Lurhmann Re-Release Australia as Faraway Downs?
When filming on Elvis had paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Baz Luhrmann had a chance to revisit his archived Australia film footage and decided to re-cut and remix the film into a miniseries.
"Because it’s a melodrama, it was already episodic. At the end of each episode, there is a tragedy, and there’s a real reason why you want to know what happens next. Because we were compressing for a single film in the cinema, there were really valuable sequences and scenes that we didn’t put in. But here, they aren’t just padding. They are different ways of telling the story," Luhrmann told Variety.
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Gallery Credit: Kayla Thomas