Filming Australia Was Hazardous to Hugh Jackman’s Health

“Hugh [Jackman] is so at peace with himself—like a John Wayne or a Clint Eastwood—and she’s like electricity. Together, they

Hugh [Jackman] is so at peace with himself—like a John Wayne or a Clint Eastwood—and she’s like electricity. Together, they are such a classic couple. And, well, he is the sexiest man alive!” said Australia director Baz Luhrmann, glancing in the direction of actors Nicole Kidman and Mr. Jackman (who People magazine recently deemed the "Sexiest Man Alive") at the premiere of his new film on Monday, Nov. 24, at the Ziegfeld Theatre. 

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Mr. Luhrmann revealed that during filming on location, the temperature was so high, and the scenes so action-filled, that both actors suffered fainting spells. Ms. Kidman, wearing a black and gold sequined dress, confirmed her director’s story.

“I did! I fainted, which was not the most fun part of filming. But, for the record, Hugh fainted too so it wasn’t just the girl,” said Ms. Kidman, whose husband, country singer Keith Urban, was standing behind her.

“Yes, I fainted the first day. I’m man enough to admit it,” said Mr. Jackman. “I was on the horse, waiting, and they said, ‘We’ll be another five minutes.’ A half hour later, they said, ‘Another five minutes.’ I said, ‘Really, five minutes, because I’m getting pretty hot.’ Forty-five minutes later, I had a hand in my back. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ And [Baz] said, ‘What am I doing? You’re at a 45 degree angle to the horse!’ So I guess I just sort of slid off, but, technically, didn’t faint!”

Socialite Lydia Hearst had been assigned the curious task of wearing a dress “inspired by the film” that evening. But even Ms. Hearst appeared to be confused about the whole thing.

“It’s a limited edition collection at Bloomingdales that was inspired by the film. But I don’t know that I know the designer… They literally just gave it to me right before I got here!” said Ms. Hearst.

The Daily Transom wasn’t clear as to how the dress, a light purple color with Japanese-style buttons running up the side and a sheer neckline, was a representation of the film about a country on the brink of World War Two.

“There were actually a lot of Asian seamstresses in Australia during the pre-WWII era. And you don’t see dresses like this anymore,” Ms. Hearst said. Besides, she added: “I feel really elegant in it.” 

Among the guests coming out to see the film that evening was actress Lauren Bacall, who was peeved by a television reporter who asked her the fairly benign question of, “What brings you out tonight?”

“What brings me out tonight?” Ms. Bacall snapped. “I’m not even going to answer that question because it is too dumb. What brings me out tonight? That is so dumb. Don’t ever ask a question like that.” (The scorned reporter politely backed off.)

Ms. Bacall’s facial expression seemed to brighten when asked about Mr. Jackman.

“I love Hugh Jackman, though he doesn’t really know it,” confessed Ms. Bacall. “I think all the women in the world love Hugh Jackman.” 

“Oh, I didn’t know he made sexiest man! Well, I always thought so,” conceded Kelsey Grammer, who was accompanied by his wife, former Playboy model Camille Donatacci. (Ms. Hearst, actress Lynn Redgrave and designer Rachel Roy also concurred regarding Mr. Jackman’s appeal.)

Mr. Jackman, for his part, seemed to enjoy the attention his cover photo was getting him, informing the Daily Transom: “I’ve been sending those photos in wallet size, poster size, all that, to my friends back in Australia.”

Filming Australia Was Hazardous to Hugh Jackman’s Health