BRAND NEW ON E!
If at first you don't succeedÂ?
Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, who were supposed to team up in the romantic fable Eucalyptus earlier this year before the production was postponed indefinitely, are hoping to hook up again.
The Oscar winners are director Baz Luhrmann's top choices to headline his latest project, an untitled Australian romantic epic for 20th Century Fox that insiders are describing as Oz's answer to Gone with the Wind.
According to the Hollywood trades, a deal isn't yet on the table, but Crowe and Kidman are being targeted for what is expected to be the first in a troika of epics Luhrmann has up his sleeve for the next decade that was originally supposed to kick off with his big-screen version of Alexander the Great.
But after Oliver Stone beat Luhrmann to the starting line with Alexander, the Aussie filmmaker opted to shelve that biopic for now in favor of developing the other two epics--the envisioned Crowe-Kidman period place set Down Under and the other one set in Russia during World War I. The trio of films is envisioned as a companion to his so-called Red Curtain Trilogy of the '90s--Strictly Ballroom (1992), William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge!.
Things were delayed even further when Luhrmann and his Oscar-winning production designer wife, Catherine Martin, announced last summer that they were expecting a child.
According to Baz's Australian-based publicist, Maria Farmer, the Moulin Rouge! maestro is by no means idle.
"Baz has for some time been developing his trilogy of epic works, including the ancient epic based on the life of Alexander the Great. He is cowriting these works with different collaborators," Farmer told E! Online last week. "Currently Stuart Beattie is cowriting with him on the Australian epic and Baz is also working on his own pass of his European epic."
(Beattie is best known for penning Tom Cruise's Collateral, and he also came up with the screen story for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.)
"All of these major works are being developed in parallel and Baz intends to commit to a production slate after the birth of his son in June."
At that point, Crowe and Kidman may have an open date on their calendars.
The pair were forced to put Jocelyn Moorehouse's Eucalyptus on hold in February due to script changes that, Crowe claimed, beefed up his supporting role into a lead part and included full-frontal nudity for his character. Fox Searchlight claimed the postponement was a collective decision by all involved.
Crowe, currently plugging the upcoming boxing drama Cinderella Man, has been looking around for a high-profile picture for the fall.
Kidman, meanwhile, has three other films on the drawing board she'll have to work around: Tony Scott's humanitarian aid drama Emma's War; American Darlings, a swing musical costarring Jennifer Lopez; and the romantic comedy Wedding Seasons.
The actress, currently seen in The Interpreter, received an Oscar nomination for her lead role in Moulin Rouge! and has been eager to work with Luhrmann again.
The filmmaker had hoped to cast Kidman as Olympia, mother to Leonardo DiCaprio's Alexander in his Alexander the Great, but with that project in a holding pattern for now, it's likely those roles will be recast.
While the movie reunion is on hold, Luhrmann and Kidman did briefly get together for the new Chanel No. 5 ad campaign.