Nicole Kidman saved Hugh Jackman from a poisonous scorpion on the set. When she was about to join Hugh in the bag, she noticed a poisonous scorpion crawling up his leg. She calmly told him not to move, squatted down, scooped the arachnid into her hat, walked over to the woods, and released it. Everyone applauded, then asked why she hadn't just stomped on it. She replied, 'I would never kill an animal. Every creature here has its purpose. This one just didn't belong in Hugh's bag!"
In an interview that aired October 16, 2008, Hugh Jackman told 60 Minutes (1979) that Nicole Kidman agreed to star in the film without reading the script. According to Jackman, she told him at a Super Bowl party that she had to be in the movie. When Jackman told her he didn't even have a script, Kidman told him to forget the script, because Baz Luhrmann was directing.
Nicole Kidman, who dislikes watching herself on screen, said of her performance: "I can't look at this movie and be proud of what I've done. It's just impossible for me to connect to it emotionally at all". However, she has expressed great enthusiasm about being part of the project, and enjoyed her co-stars' performance.
Filming began in spring 2007 and went on for nine hard months. Baz Luhrmann constantly re-shot scenes until he got things just the way he wanted. The project went well over budget, causing several scheduling problems. Australia itself was not very cooperative. Filming was delayed for days because of bad weather or poor lighting. The largest and most expensive set was completely flooded when huge rain showers hit a part of the country that rarely gets rain. Luhrmann was forced to secure more funding and make some compromises. Shooting of the final scenes moved from Darwin to Bowen because the local government provided 500,000 dollars to film there.
Baz Luhrmann searched Australia for over a year for a young boy to play Nullah. After a series of workshops at Fox Studios Australia, Luhrmann and his team traveled to Broome and camped with Brandon Walters' family at 80 Mile Beach, Western Australia. Luhrmann decided to cast Walters during the camp-out.
While promoting the film, Nicole Kidman angered Aboriginal groups after she tried to play a didgeridoo on a German talk show. Traditionally, Aboriginal groups do not allow women to play the instrument. Some Aboriginal groups believe playing the instrument makes women infertile. Kidman's next child was born via surrogate.
Nicole Kidman and Baz Luhrmann agreed not to work together again after this film because their collaborations always collided with strong personal experiences. Luhrmann's father died on the first day of shooting Moulin Rouge! (2001). Kidman had her only successful pregnancy while making this film.
Faraway Downs was dismantled in 2011. An indigenous organization in Kimberley, Western Australia, claimed it was located on their land and requested its removal. Despite a report predicting it could attract as many as 90,000 visitors annually if restored with an Australia movie theme,Tourism Western Australia decided not to keep Faraway Downs as a tourist attraction.
This film's opening prologue states: "After the bombing of Pearl Harbour on the 7th December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy steamed south, unleashing their fire on Darwin, a city in the Northern Territory of Australia. 'The Territory' was a land of crocodiles, cattle barons and warrior chiefs where adventure and romance was a way of life. It was also a place where Aboriginal children of mixed-race were taken by force from their families and trained for service in white society. These children became known as the Stolen Generations."
When Lady Ashley travels from England to Australia, the orchestral score is an homage to Johann Sebastian Bach's "Hunting Cantata" (BWV 208), especially the aria "Sheep may safely graze." Australian composer Percy Grainger used that cantata as a source of inspiration for some of his own compositions.
This film's epilogue states: "The [Australian] Government officially abandoned the Assimilation Project for Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory in 1973. In 2008, the Prime Minister of Australia offered a formal apology to the members of the Stolen Generations."