Moulin Rouge! (2001) Poster



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In original drafts of the script, Satine had a three-year-old child and the story was told in flashbacks, told by Christian to the child.
The necklace worn by Nicole Kidman was made of real diamonds and platinum and was the most expensive piece of jewelry ever specifically made for a film. The Stefano Canturi necklace was made with 1,308 diamonds, weighing a total of 134 carats and was worth an estimated US $1 million.
Originally, the green fairy was going to be a long-haired muscle man with a giant sitar and Ozzy Osbourne was hired to provide the vocals. Eventually it was changed to the current "Tinker Bell" incarnation, played by Kylie Minogue, but Osbourne still gives voice to the fairy's guttural scream when it turns evil.
Filming was halted for two weeks in November 1999 after Nicole Kidman fractured two ribs and injured her knee while rehearsing a dance routine for the film. Many of the scenes where she is seen only from the chest up, including "A real actress!", were shot while she was in a wheelchair.
In the "Like a Virgin" number, Jim Broadbent's voice is dubbed by an opera singer, mimicking Broadbent's own vocal performance. The floor was rubbed in with Coca Cola so the dancers wouldn't slip. This segment, Richard Roxburgh's favorite experience from the production, took a week to film.
During Satine's trapeze entrance, blue light was used due to Nicole Kidman's pale skin tone, the director found that the blue light made her almost "glow" and therefore stood out during the scene.
Various tricks were used to make John Leguizamo's (Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa) legs appear shorter. Some shots are of his stand-in who was of the correct height, while in others he walked on his knees in special leg braces and wearing blue socks so that his lower legs could be digitally removed. Leguizamo did the entire climactic scene from a squatting position to give him greater mobility in his role. Consequently he had to endure several weeks of physical therapy afterwards.
"Come What May" was written by David Baerwald for Romeo + Juliet (1996) but not used. In Moulin Rouge! (2001), it is newly written for the stage show by Christian. It is the only completely original song in the entire film. However, because it was written for another film, it was disqualified for the Oscars' Best Song award.
Nicole Kidman actually wears a wig throughout the movie.
Both Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor wore harnesses for the scenes on the elephant as they were standing 60ft off the ground.
Chosen as the opening film at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie's plot is an amalgam three operas/operettas. A young writer with Bohemian friends, falling in love with a terminally ill girl, is from La Boheme, based on Henri Murger's novel "La Vie de la Boheme". A courtesan learning that love can also be true and idealistic, comes from La Traviata, based on Alexandre Dumas fils' novel La Dame du Camelias, which also involves terminal illness. Finally, the plot line of the writer who travels to the "under-world" of the Moulin Rouge to find his love and tries to take her back to the "upper-world" comes from Jacques Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld" based on Greek mythology--a movement from this opera's overture becomes the "pitch" song for Spectacular Spectacular.
The wardrobe department created three hundred costumes and, at one point, eighty people were employed for this task.
This movie was launched in Australia to an audience of just 250 people in a small country town called Taree, 200 miles north of Sydney. Baz Luhrmann grew up just outside of Taree where his family owned a gas service-station. The 250 tickets were sold at a local pharmacy.
An enormous elephant statue in the garden, bought from a theme park, housed an Arabic nightclub and an opium den.
Several images (i.e. clowns, men in tuxedos with tutus) are taken from Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings of the Moulin Rouge and nearby clubs.
The film is dedicated to Baz Luhrmann's father, Leonard Luhrmann, who died just as filming was about to begin. Before he passed away, he told his son to focus on the film. When Luhrmann thought about giving up during its hectic production, he remembered his father's words.
The Elephant medley contains parts of several famous and not-so-famous love songs. These include "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles, "I was Made for Loving You" by KISS, "In the Name of Love" by U2, "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston, "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney, "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, "Heroes" by David Bowie, and "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton.
Cat Stevens would not license his song "Father and Son", which was the first musical number in the original script, because of his current religious beliefs. He objected to the sexual content in the film. The scene featuring "Father and Son" was to have been between Christian and his father in his father's office, with all his father's employees joining in for the chorus. This was to be the segue into his leaving home for Paris. The scene is included in the complete script on the Special Edition DVD.
The stage for "Spectacular Spectacular" was especially reinforced to hold the weight of a galloping horse for a scene where the evil Maharaja rides across the stage. The scene was abandoned but the white horse still appears fleetingly in one shot.
The majority of the Can Can dancers at the Moulin Rouge have a specifically designed 'persona', most of them based on different male fetishes. The full list of names of the Can Can dancers and their 'persona' is as follows: Antoinette - Based on the famous French Queen, Marie-Antoinette. Arabia - Based on Arabian courtesan garb. Babydoll - Dressed in Infant Clothing (Often mistook for Bo Peep) Chinadoll - Dressed in Chinese silks. Dominatrix - Self explanatory. French Maid - Self explanatory. Garden Girl - A hippie/bohemian/earthy seeming girl. Gypsy - Self explanatory. Harlequin - Based on a court jester's diamond patterned costume. Historic - Based on the Statue of Liberty. Juno - Dressed as an Angel. Liberty - Dressed in 'Napoleonic' garb. Mome Fromage - Dressed in candy/cake/confectionery type colors and fabrics. Nini Legs-In-The-Air - Costume decorated with windmills, as the character is said to have the best legs in the Moulin Rouge and is always showing them off, waving her legs around, likening her legs to a windmill. Dances in the center. Pearly Queen - Decorated in sophisticated clothing; pearls, furs, jewels. Petite Princess - A dwarf woman in a princess costume. Polka Dot- a spirit of winter with evergreen trees drawn on her dress. Schoolgirl - Self explanatory (strongly resembles Gigi (1958) or Madeline (1952)). Spanish - Dressed in a flowing, veiled Spanish costume. Tarot - Costume is decorated with various imagery from tarot cards. Tartan - Costume is a full traditional Scottish Garb, with the skirt designed to look like a kilt. Tattoo - Dancer is covered entirely from the neck down in tattoos. Travesty - Cross-dresser, upper half is of an upper-class man; top hat, tuxedo, and bow tie. Dances with Nini. Urchin - Dressed as a poor street girl (strongly resembles Eponine from Great Performances: Les Misérables in Concert (1995)); bowler hat, patchwork costume.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Heath Ledger were contenders to play Satine and Christian. Other possible Christians included Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ronan Keating. Other possible Satines included Kate Winslet, Hilary Swank, Renée Zellweger, Drew Barrymore, Natalie Mendoza, Sharleen Spiteri, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Tim Wheeler, of the rock band Ash, auditioned for the lead role of Christian, which led him to write the track "Orpheus". Courtney Love auditioned for Satine, and allowed Baz Luhrmann to use Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in the opening sequence, a rare case of allowing her late husband Kurt Cobain's work to be used in film or TV.
The Paris landscape was digitally produced and the two longest visual effects shots to date that appear in this film.
Nicole Kidman had to be replaced in the film Panic Room (2002) because of injuries she suffered while filming this film.
Moulin Rouge! (2001) became the first movie musical, in ten years, to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year since Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991). It was also snubbed for Best Director (Baz Luhrmann) and Best Original Screenplay, which has been cited as one of the most outrageous, infamous, and unforgivable Oscar snubs for the 74th Academy Awards.
In the scene where all the gentlemen throw their hats up in the air, all the hats were suspended on fishing wire.
According to an interview with Craig Pearce on the DVD extras, an early draft of the script had the Count seducing both Satine and Christian and then hooking them on morphine.
Courtney Love has gone on record calling losing the role of Satine to Nicole Kidman one of the biggest disappoints of her career and made no secret of her resentment against Kidman. Director Baz Luhrmann characterized the difference between the two actresses in a Vanity Fair article by saying "Courtney is fire and Nicole is ice." This prompted Love to remark that Kidman was "a puddle" and dedicate the song "Miss World" (a song about a self-loathing beauty queen) to Kidman on her 1999 tour with her band Hole.
Jim Broadbent took two-and-a-half hours every day to be fitted into his fat suit.
The production was over-running in its shooting schedule and had to be out of the Fox Studios in Sydney to make way for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - which also featured Ewan McGregor. This necessitated some pick-up shots being filmed in Madrid.
The "placeholder" name of the Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) during the writing of the script was Count Von Groovy.
The word "love" and its variations (loved, loves, loving, lover and lovers) appears in this film 143 times which also alludes to the phrase "I love you" because of how many letter per word. I has one letter love has four letters and you had three.
The song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" mentions four jewelers - Tiffany, Cartier, Black Starr & Frost - Gorham and Harry Winston. Winston was not in business when the movie was set, and Black Starr & Frost had not yet merged with Gorham. Both names were removed from Satine's performance of the song. Harry Winston was replaced with Jim Broadbent's character Harold (Harry) Zidler. This historical person's real name was Charles Zidler, which the writers changed for this song.
For much of the film, Satie (Matthew Whittet) is wearing a long, colorful scarf very reminiscent of the trademark scarf worn by Tom Baker on Doctor Who (1963). The scarf Baker wore was inspired by a long red scarf worn in the painting "Ambassadeurs: Aristide Bruant dans son cabaret" by famous bohemian Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who is a character in this movie.
The song "My Way", made popular by Frank Sinatra, was considered to be performed by The Duke for the film, but this never developed. However, The Duke still repeatedly yells, "My way!" during the finale.
Kylie Minogue recorded other songs for use, including "Physical"(originally recorded by Olivia Newton-John) and "I Feel Love" (originally recorded by Donna Summer)
During the performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", the chorus of "Material Girl" is sung. In the original music video for "Material Girl", Madonna re-enacted Marilyn Monroe's performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).
Moulin Rouge (Red Mill) dancers really wore split knickers under their dresses, a technical point that the film-makers chose not to follow in order to obtain a PG-13 rating.
The hand painted scrolls used in the credits were painted in irregular aspect ratio in order to be filmed correctly.
Frenchman Henri de Toulousse-Lautrec is played by Hispanic (Colombian) actor John Leguizamo. In the 1952 film Moulin Rouge (1952), he was played by another Hispanic actor, Puerto Rican born José Ferrer. Cast member David Wenham shares the role of another Frenchman with Ferrer: Cyrano de Bergerac.
The movie was shot largely at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia, with no location filming at all.
Rowan Atkinson and Alan Cumming were considered for the part of Toulouse-Lautrec. John Leguizamo was originally considered for the role of The Argentinean.
Zidler appears to be a stand-in for Charles Zidler, the first manager of the real Moulin Rouge who died in 1897.
A scene establishing the "Gothic Tower" as a bordello was cut. It involved dancers in S&M gear performing Grace Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm", "Warm Leatherette", and "Pull Up to the Bumper".
100 to 150 people at any one time assisted in the construction of the set to the Moulin Rouge.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
In a video blog, John Leguizamo held a poll with the cast on which can can dancer was the sexiest (the winner was Baby Doll).
Jim Broadbent based his performance on director Baz Luhrmann.
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The blood that Satine (Nicole Kidman) coughs up is really a mixture of red food coloring, corn syrup and water.
The music most asociated with the Can Can dance, which is also used in this movie, comes from Jacques Offenbach's 1858 operetta "Orfée aux enfers" ("Oroheus in the Underworld"). It is called "The Infernal Galop." A galop is a fast country dance introduced to Paris society in the 1820's by the Duchesse de Berry.
Traditionally, the underside of can-can skirts are white to simulate petticoats. In this film, the can-can skirts are brightly colored (according to the dancer's character) in order to keep the dance exciting for a modern audience.
Nicole Kidman and Jim Broadbent later co-starred in Paddington (2014).
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Stereophonics' lead singer Kelly Jones says he was approached about playing a part in the movie but turned it down.
The Rolling Stones declined permission to use one of their songs in the film.
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Baz Luhrmann hired Marilyn Manson to sing "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which made Courtney Love very angry as she and Manson had a longstanding feud. She evoked the performer approval clause in her contract, forcing production to find an unknown band to re-record the song six days before the movie's opening.
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Baz Luhrmann revealed that he drew from the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice in the DVD's audio commentary. The legend of Orpheus says he was a musical genius, far surpassing anyone in his world; the filmmakers chose to replicate this by using songs from the mid-to-late 20th century, many decades after the film's 1899 setting. In this way, Christian would appear to the other characters to be ahead-of-his-time as a musician and writer.
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L'Amour, the ad billboard on the roof in Christian's home is the same as on the beach in Romeo + Juliet (1996).
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The can-can dancers and courtesans at the Moulin Rouge are known as "Diamond Dogs." Diamond Dogs was also the name of David Bowie's eighth studio album which he released in 1974.
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When asked about his inspiration for the film, Baz Luhrmann remarked:

"When I was in India researching Midsummer Night's Dream, we went to this huge, ice cream picture palace to see a Bollywood movie. Here we were, with 2,000 Indians watching a film in Hindi, and there was the lowest possible comedy and then incredible drama and tragedy and then break out in songs. And it was three-and-a-half hours! We thought we had suddenly learnt Hindi, because we understood everything! We thought it was incredible. How involved the audience were. How uncool they were - how their coolness had been ripped aside and how they were united in this singular sharing of the story. The thrill of thinking, 'Could we ever do that in the West? Could we ever get past that cerebral cool and perceived cool.' It required this idea of comic-tragedy. Could you make those switches? Fine in Shakespeare - low comedy and then you die in five minutes. . . . In 'Moulin Rouge', we went further. Our recognisable story, though Orphean in shape, is derived from Camille, La Boheme - whether you know those texts or not, you recognise those patterns and character types".
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Both John Leguizamo and Ewan McGregor have starred in ER (1994). John starred as Victor Clemente in Season 12 and Ewan starred as Duncan Stewart, a robber of a convenience store, in Season 3.
Out of all of the Diamond Dogs, only three don't participate in the can can: Arabia, China Doll, and Mome Fromage (the first three seen with Nini).
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Before realizing that they had to narrow their scope to just the Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce wrote scenes exploring more of Paris's Montmartre neighborhood. Excised from the final draft was a scene in which Christian, Satine, and Toulouse-Lautrec go to the estate of the German aristocrat Count von Groovy and participate in an absinthe- and opium-fueled orgy with Isadora Duncan, Sarah Bernhardt, and Oscar Wilde. Count von Groovy is a nickname that Luhrmann acquired while directing La Bohème at the Sydney Opera House in 1990.
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Some songs that were taken out of the script after rewrites were The 5th Dimension's "Up, Up and Away" and 10CC's "I'm Not in Love."
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Elijah Wood auditioned by doing a song-and-dance number but he failed to land a part.
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Tara Morice: the female lead in Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom (1992) briefly appears as a prostitute in the opening sequence.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Some of Toulouse-Lautrec's lines in the scene after Satine rejects Christian are taken from his letters.
Satine's sickness - though only referred to as "consumption" in the movie - is pulmonary tuberculosis.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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