You think that people would have had enough of silly love songs...but I look around me and I see that isn't so, oh no.
Baz Lurhmann's Absinthe-laced love story, Moulin Rouge!, was officially released 15 years ago on June 1st in 2001, and it is the perfect opportunity to bring out some of the film's most odd and crazy behind-the-scenes facts! Starring Nicole Kidman as Satine and Ewan McGregor as Christian, Moulin Rouge! followed the tale of two star-crossed lovers set in Paris' Bohemian era when the risque Moulin Rouge was at its peak. The musical joined Lurhmann's Romeo and Juliet as the soundtrack for a generation, and a love-story for the young and free.
I remember being 15 years old and belting "Elephant Love Medley" in my best friend's car on repeat, changing who would sing Satine and who would sing Christian every other play. Moulin Rogue! definitely opened up the door for musicals to take flight again in Hollywood for a new generation, and was the first musical to be nominated for an Oscar since Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast 10 years earlier in 1991!
As magical and as odd of a film as 'Moulin Rouge!' was, these 12 behind-the-scenes facts are even weirder... trust me!
1. Leonardo DiCaprio wanted, and even auditioned, to play Christian!
Leo had developed a great working relationship with Baz Luhrmann, but Leo just didn't have the vocal chops, and Lurhmann ultimately told him this would just not work after Leo sang "Lean On Me" with a piano player and hit a sour high note.
2. Nicole Kidman fractured 2 ribs while filming!
This made it so half of the film had to be shot waist up in her scenes! The injuries came from demanding dance rehearsals for the role.
3. In original scripts, the story was told through Christian to Satine's 3-year old child.
Satine's child was later cut from the script. Christian, instead, spoke directly to the audience through his writing.
4. Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, and Jake Gyllenhaal also auditioned for Christian!
I could definitely have seen Heath in the role! None the less, it's clear the right man for the job was cast.
5. The diamond necklace Nicole Kidman wears throughout the film was the most expensive piece of jewelry EVER made for a film.
It was made of 1,308 diamonds making it worth more than $1 million!
6. Nicole Kidman wore a wig for the entire film!
Despite Nicole having naturally beautiful red hair, at the time, it was too short.
7. The song "Come What May" was the only original song in the film, but couldn't be nominated for an Oscar...
"Come What May" was originally written for Baz's Romeo+Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but didn't fit and It was cut from the film, only for Lurhmann to find the perfect home for it in his next film, Moulin Rouge!.
8. Darth Vader basically kicked Moulin Rouge! out of Australia...
Forcing it to finish filming in Madrid! Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was set to film in the same studios as Moulin Rouge!, and when Moulin Rouge! needed more time for pick-up shots, George Lucas wouldn't budge on his schedule.
9. The Rolling Stones said NO!
Baz Luhrmann spent 2 years building the film's soundtrack with music's biggest hits. Most artists he had no problem gaining permission from, however The Rolling Stones and Cat Stevens both refused Baz's request, forcing Baz to find other options.
10. Ozzy Osbourne is in the movie!
He was originally cast to play the Green Fairy, but was replaced by Kylie Minogue. HOWEVER, in the scene where the Green Fairy's eyes turn red, that is actually Ozzy Osbourne!
11. Courtney Love auditioned to play Satine...
After not getting the role, a bitter Love dedicated her song about a spoiled diva, "Miss World", to Nicole Kidman while on tour with her band Hole in 1999.
12. Marilyn Manson's version of "Teen Spirit" had to be rerecorded by a new band 6 days before the film's release.
Courtney Love just didn't want him in the film. Baz Luhrmann had to get initial approval to use Teen Spirit from Love, and in the contract, there was a clause that gave her power to deny the performer.
Wow, how different of a film would we have had in Leonardo DiCaprio and Courtney Love were cast to play Satine and Christian?! As much as I love Leo, I shudder at the thought, because like he's said himself, his vocals are less than desirable! And Courtney Love? Hot mess central! Even with all its casting and musical hiccups, Moulin Rouge! found its place in cinematic history and in a generation's hearts. This is one of the few films I can't wait to show my kids when they get older, and see them experience the magic I did when I was younger and just learning about romance and love. They just don't make original films like this anymore, let's be real. We are ready for this generation's Moulin Rouge!, and not a remake, I'm talking an entirely new original film that will push Hollywood's storytelling limits. So, YOUR MOVE HOLLYWOOD!