When “Moulin Rouge!” opened the 54th Cannes Film Festival in 2001, critics either fell in love with its over-the-top pop spectacle or disregarded it as all style and no substance. It was basically your quintessential Baz Luhrmann movie, but it took the box office by storm and charmed enough Oscar voters to land eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Nicole Kidman.
Flashforward 16 years and Kidman and Ewan McGregor are both major Emmy contenders in the limited series race. The former has earned some of the best reviews of her career for “Big Little Lies,” while the latter has earned nothing but praise for his double role as twins on “Fargo” Season 3. Both are expected to earn nominations this year, and Variety brought the pair together to reflect on their television breakthroughs and head back down “Moulin Rouge!” memory lane.
“Did you realize what we were making when we were making it?” Kidman asks McGregor. “I think I did,” he answers. “I don’t think you do work unless you think it’s going to be great.”
The actor credits Luhrmann’s rehearsal process as the driving force behind the movie’s success. The pair started working on vocal training and various styles of dance during a two week workshop six months before principal photography began.
“I remember you having this exquisite voice and me going, ‘I’m never going to be able to hit these notes,'” said Kidman on the experience. “You were so much better than me. It’s so true.”
Rehearsals continued three months before the shoot at Luhrmann’s villa, where Kidman and McGregor were fitted for costumes and workshopped the script. They also partied in typical Lurhmann fashion. Kidman doesn’t go into much detail on those “wild nights,” but she does admit to trying absinthe.
Watch Kidman and McGregor reunite in the video below. “Fargo” Season 3 airs Wednesdays on FX. You can stream “Big Little Lies” in its entirety on HBO GO.