Dear Sir, with Love: An open letter to Baz Lurhman

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baz luhrmann and catherine martin
Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin

Dear Baz,

I’m writing an open letter to you because Sinead O’Connor wrote one to Miley Cyrus recently and it received a lot of publicity. (A few years ago I wrote to Hugh Hefner but I’m not 26, blonde or called Crystal so I didn’t receive a reply — which is just as well considering he might have taken offence like Miley did and tweeted that I was a nutter.)

I can assure you I’m not a nutter (or Sinead O’Connor) and I certainly wouldn’t make a video clip sitting on a wrecking-ball, naked. Instead, I’m writing to you because I thoroughly enjoyed your remake of The Great Gatsby which I watched last night. I’m also writing to apologise for the film critics who said it was rubbish compared to the 1972 Robert Redford version which co-starred Woody Allen’s ex, Mia Farrow, before she adopted the orphan he ran off with.

Baz, I used to be a film critic and I’ve sat through a lot of bad movies, most of which are directed by men who look like Leonard Cohen crossed with Jim Jarmusch. (This means that Margaret Pomeranz from the Movie Show will give them five stars.) However, they are self-indulgent, boring films with unknown actors and they never make any money at the box office — unlike your films which make a profit and star Leonardo De Caprio.

Baz, I believe you are a national treasure, but not like the character in the Nicholas Cage film who had to steal the Declaration of Independence and follow clues left by the founding fathers, freemasons and Illuminati who drew pyramids on American bills as guidance.

In fact, those American bills with pyramid drawings got Nicholas into a lot of trouble when he forgot to pay his taxes and the Internal Revenue Office chased him for repayment and he had to ask Johnny Depp for a loan.

Anyway, I love your films and your stylist wife Catherine Martin who designs all the costumes for them. Indeed, you deserve national treasure status much more than Delta Goodrem who Seal nominated during a rant at the media on Twitter. (You can’t be too hard on Seal, though,considering he was under stress because his supermodel ex-wife Heidi Klum, a German national treasure but a bit of a hussy, ran off with the bodyguard while he was busy judging The Voice and tweeting about Deltra Goodrem.)

Just like Heidi Klum, though, I’d like to put Seal aside and explain why you deserve to be nominated.

First, you’ve got a great name. Thankfully your parents didn’t call you Kevin or Corey because you would have ended up in an outer suburban Bunnings store handling plumbing equipment. With a name like Baz, however, you had to become a successful film director. In fact, the only comparable name would have been Peter Allen because you look a bit like him and I can imagine you holding a pair of Maracas while dressed in white pants and a Hawaiian shirt. You have a lot in common with Peter as you are both somewhat effeminate men who made a living from dancing. Peter danced around on stage and your first film was Strictly Ballroom which featured a lot of dancing even though Peter Allen was dead by then.

Strictly Ballroom was before Romeo and Juliet which was a remake of the Shakespeare classic. Leonardo starred in that one too and you had the foresight to cast Chris Rock before he became a semi-regular host of the Academy Awards.

After those great films you made Moulin Rogue! which was a hit despite Nicole Kidman. Both you and Keith Urban consider Nicole a treasure even if nobody else does and she has been in two of your films. Actually, it might have been Keith who gave Seal the idea that Delta Goodrem was a national treasure when they sat alongside each other on The Voice. Delta looks similar to Nicole — and Heidi — and she once dated serial idiot Mark Philippoussis who is not a national treasure or much of a tennis player.

Anyhow, I love you Baz, but I couldn’t watch Australia despite it starring Hugh Jackman, who is a national treasure and treats his wife Deborra-Lee Furness with a lot of respect.  Instead, I agree with Mariella Frostrup,  journalist, socialite and English national treasure, who said that Australia would have been a hit if box-office disaster Nicole Kidman wasn’t in it.

The second reason you deserve national treasure status is because you take risks. Your films are full of colour, movement, great soundtracks and innovative storytelling. They are not the average blockbuster and you bring a lot of creative energy to them. You are like Peter Jackson and James Cameron, but without the hobbits or avatars.

Please keep the house you recently listed for sale in Sydney and then took off the market. You said you changed your mind about selling because the house was full of happy memories and you still loved it. I love you too Baz and want you to keep making films and live in Australia.  So please accept the national treasure nomination, stay off the phone to Nicole Kidman and continue to work your magic.

And pretty please, cast Ryan Gossling in your next masterpiece so  you can keep all midlife ladies happy.

All the best,


Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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