The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Baz Luhrmann marked the 20th anniversary of his romantic epic Romeo + Juliet by giving fans an inside look at the set all those years ago. Utilizing the wonders of social media, the Aussie director shared snaps of the set with the stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. While also giving some details from behind the events of the production.
At the time of the release, Shakespeare material was still revered but viewed as something more antiquated. Leaving the boring tales to be portrayed on black and white film. When 1996 came around and rebooted the classic tale in modern times, it not only catapulted the careers of the two leads but breathed life into the workings of the iconic writer.
Luhrmann Admits There Was A Lot Of Pressure And Doubters Leading Into Movie
With the 2-hour extravaganza released on Boxing Day in his native country, Luhrmann explained on social media that it was far from smooth sailing. Given the subject material and trying to essentially reboot a story so familiar with audiences both on screen and on stage.
"Many doubted the preposterous ambition of setting Shakespeare's beloved tragic romance in a heightened creative world," said Baz. "With a then relatively unknown Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes."
Unknown they would be no more. And the director praised DiCaprio's dedication at such a tender age.
"When I was trying to get the film made, Leonardo agreed for the price of two plane tickets to come with his wonderful father George DiCaprio to explore the idea in workshop form all the way down in Australia," retold the director. "(He is) a great artist and collaborator."
Baz Set Back By Close Disaster Calls
To illustrate just how much chaos was going on in between shots, the director explains that cast members were almost run over in the streets. Which was thanks most in part to tropical hurricanes blowing away complete sets. But he would find inspiration at every turn, including one iconic moment with the two stars in a scene that sticks in the memory.
"When I came out of the bathroom to wash my hands," started Lurhmann, "I looked up and saw a woman combing her hair with a brush through a fish-tank. It was a brilliant device to get guys and girls to connect through the sitting rooms, while protecting each room's privacy. Obviously you can see where this moment lead."
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The inspiration for the scene between the fish-tank came when Craig and I were so desperately looking for a solution as to how to surprise the audience for the first connective moment between Romeo and Juliet. I was younger then and we might have gone out to clubs a bit more. That night after working all day we squirreled out to a place (if I recall correctly called "The Dome") in Miami. When I came out of the bathroom to wash my hands I looked up and saw a woman combing her hair with a brush through a fish-tank. It was a brilliant device to get guys and girls to connect through the sitting rooms, while protecting each room's privacy. Obviously you can see where this moment lead... #romeoandjuliet #RJat20