Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman are finally going to share the silver screen, and all from the comfort of home.
The Oscar-owning, Oz-based duo have officially signed on to star in a Baz Luhrmann-helmed epic set in the rugged Australian Outback in the run-up to World War II.
The Moulin Rouge director (and fellow Down Under dweller) has modestly described the project as a "sweeping romance," comparable in scope to Gone with the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia. The as-yet-untitled film, backed by 20th Century Fox, will stretch from the 1930s up to the Japanese bombing of the tropical city of Darwin in 1942.
Luhrmann said that Crowe and Kidman were excited to make "something at home, for home."
"We've talked about it for over seven years, that we must do something together in Australia," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Because you've got two Oscar-winning actors, you can actually make a film at a scale that you could never do for an Australian film before."
Kidman, meanwhile, told reporters that she was looking forward to making a "uniquely Australian story" with her "good friend Russell."
Luhrmann is collaborating with Collateral screenwriter Stuart Beattie on the script. Cameras are set to roll this August for a 2007 release.
The on-screen pairing of Kidman, 37, and Crowe, 41, in the Luhrmann was first speculated in the trades last May after another Oz-set project fizzled. The actors had initially planned to team up for Fox Searchlight's romantic tale Eucalyptus, but the production was indefinitely shelved due to script problems.
Last year, the Hollywood trades reported that the Crowe-Kidman film is the first in a trio of historical sagas Luhrmann has on the drawing board. The others include a delayed Alexander the Great biopic and a film set in Russia during World War I and will serve as a follow-up to his so-called Red Curtain Trilogy of Strictly Ballroom, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, the latter of which also starred Kidman.
Kidman and Luhrmann have a productive history together. Aside from their big-screen projects, he most recently directed her in a 180-second, multimillion-dollar commercial for Chanel No. 5.