Fox Searchlight Pictures announced that production will begin February 7 on Eucalyptus, a sweepingly imaginative fairy tale about love and life in Australia, starring an Aussie cast led by Oscar® winners Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, and Australian Film Institute Award winners Jack Thompson and Hugo Weaving. Based on the New York Times Notable Book of the Year of the same name written by Murray Bail, the film will be directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse from a screenplay she penned. It is produced by Uberto Pasolini (The Full Monty) and Lynda House (Muriel's Wedding) and executive produced by Crowe.
Said Russell Crowe of joining with the Australian filmmakers and cast: "With the help of a few friends we envision this movie as a line in the sand, a statement of power through ensemble and therefore of greater impetus to the industry in general. Per capita, Australians and New Zealanders have made an enormous contribution to world cinema. We fight above our weight. This project will prove to our aspiring writers that an Australian director using Australian actors can use international funding to tell an Australian story."
"I feel very lucky to be working with these extraordinary actors on such a uniquely Australian love story," Director/Writer Jocelyn Moorhouse added. "When I worked with Russell on Proof, I was amazed by his powers as an actor and I can't wait to work with him again. Nicole has done brilliant work in overseas movies these last few years and I'm looking forward to working with her in a beautiful Australian setting."
In a world where life and love are fragile, a widower named Holland (Jack Thompson) plants hundreds of Eucalyptuses as a memorial to his wife. Living in this man-made forest, hidden away from prying eyes, is Holland's beautiful and mysterious daughter Ellen (Nicole Kidman). Over the years, men have tried to woo Ellen, to no avail. One day, Holland realizes he can no longer keep Ellen hidden, and devises a seemingly impossible competition -- the man who can name all 800 Eucalyptuses on Holland's property, by sight, will win his daughter's hand in marriage. Men come from all over the land to try their luck. As a brilliant, dashing botanist (Hugo Weaving) approaches the finishing line, Ellen finds herself drawn to a mysterious stranger (Russell Crowe) whose stories of far away places take root in her soul.
"It has long been a dream of mine to come home to make a film telling a uniquely Australian story," said Nicole Kidman. "To be able to do so with my good friend Russell makes Eucalyptus extra special. Jocelyn Moorhouse has written a beautiful script -- a story of love and devotion -- which I am sure has universal appeal. This will be a wonderful collaboration of Australian talent."