The 2001 film Moulin Rouge! dazzled viewers worldwide with its phenomenal dancing, exceptional music, and award-winning cast. It quickly rose in popularity and became a fan favorite.
Since its premiere, the cast has stayed busy. We put together a list of then and nows, as well as some fun facts, all so you can stay up to date on this incredible theatrical release.
Certain movies are just classics. They’re timeless and their charm will never go out of style. Keep reading to learn more about what made Moulin Rouge! a classic film worth watching on repeat!
Nicole Kidman won the Golden Globe for Best Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Satine in Moulin Rouge! but lost out to Halle Berry for her work in Monster’s Ball. Kidman suffered for her art, though. Reportedly she broke a rib while trying to fit into one of her corsets and later fell down some stairs while performing a dance number, ending up in a wheelchair. Clearly the life of a French Courtesan isn’t easy!
Most film goers first took note of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It wasn’t until his role as Christian in Moulin Rouge!, though, that audiences truly fell in love with him. After Moulin Rouge!, McGregor kept busy with plenty of roles over the years, including reprising his role as Obi-Wan in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith and even the most recent installment, The Force Awakens, though only in voice form . Most recently, he starred in “Fargo” and received several awards for his work. They say consistency is key, and Ewan McGregor is certainly consistent!
Caroline O’ Connor
Nini Legs-In-The-Air no more! Caroline O’Connor is best known for her role as one of the main ladies of the night in Moulin Rouge!, but is now living in her home country of Australia where she works as a professional singer, dancer, and actress. While the film is one of the only ones she has done in the United States, she certainly did make an impact in the role! It’s always refreshing to see a talent such as this exploring many different aspects of her craft.
We almost didn’t recognize him without the ginger locks and rouged cheeks! Jim Broadbent dazzled viewers as Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge! and won a BAFTA award (the British equivalent of an Academy Award) for his part. After this role, he continued his career as a popular British character actor. Most recently, he has played Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter movies and won his way into the hearts of millions worldwide!
We definitely wouldn’t have recognized this actor without his costume! After playing Audrey in Moulin Rouge, David Wenham went on to have a wildly successful career. He is busy on the Australian film scene, but also stared in the 300 film series and as Faramir in the Lord of the Ring series. He is in a long-term relationship with Kate Agnew, and with his looks, we can see why!
The City of Love
Moulin Rouge was set in Paris, but none of the filming actually took place there! Instead, the production team created the city’s iconic skyline using digital imaging technology. This is pretty amazing when you consider how far technology has come in the last few years!
But, not all the special effects in the movie were quite so high tech — keep reading to learn more!
A Party Trick
Toward the end of the movie, there is a scene in which all the men at a party toss their top hats up into the air. The entire motion looks incredibly well-coordinated, and even the hats seem to rise at the exact same time! That is because the hats all had fishing wire attached to them so that they could be pulled up in unison. Sometimes the best tricks are the oldest!
Can Can I Can Do The Can Can
Each of the can can dancers in the film was assigned a “persona” to take on while they were in costume. Most of these were based off of different male fetishes! Some of these include hippies, Marie Antoinette, a dominatrix, and a schoolgirl. Creepy on so many levels, but also artistically brilliant at the same time.
No Love Here
Apparently, Courtney Love was very close to being cast as Satine in Moulin Rouge. In the end, producers chose to go with Nicole Kidman, and Love was NOT happy about this decision! In 1999, while on tour, she dedicated a song to a “self-obsessed beauty queen [she] knows.” Sources say this was a reference to Kidman! Yikes!
In order to safely film the “Like a Virgin” musical scene, set technicians poured Coca-Cola onto the floor. The high sugar content in the drink made the floor sticky and kept dancers from slipping and sliding all over the place. This is certainly a clever trick we wouldn’t have thought of! Today, a Coca-Cola sign stands next to the actual “Moulin Rouge” theatre in Paris as an homage to the film.
John Leguizamo performed in Moulin Rouge! as painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. These days, he is staying busy with several voice acting roles, most famously in the Ice Age series. He also works as a playwright and stand up comedian. His portfolio is certainly diverse, and it has kept him busy and very successful!
Kylie Minogue played the impish, mischievous Green Fairy in Moulin Rouge! In the movie, she had a short dancing scene. Originally, it was supposed to be a much longer scene, but producers shortened it in post-production. Apparently, Kylie was pretty upset by the perceived slight!
Both Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Christian, but director Baz Luhrmann instead chose to cast Ewan McGregor. He had worked with him in the past in Romeo + Juliet, so he was a logical choice. While both Gyllenhaal and Ledger missed out on the part, they would go on to star in Brokeback Mountain together, which would win three Academy Awards and three Golden Globes. Not too shabby.
Who else but Baz Luhrmann could come up with the character of a narcoleptic, tango-dancing Argentinean? And who other than Jacek Koman could infuse that character with a fiery brand of passion that could inspire a penniless poet to follow his dreams and declare his unrequited love for a French Courtesan. While he is best remembered for this role, Koman would go on to act in films like Children of Men in 2006, and Defiance in 2008.
Australian actor Richard Roxbury played the sniveling Duke of Monmouth in Moulin Rouge!, the detested villain of the film, whom fans love to hate. He is a very busy man in the “land down under” and has starred in plenty of television shows and movies, including Professor Moriarty in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003 and Dracula in 2004’s Van Helsing. Clearly he has no problem playing a character with a couple of issues.
A cool tidbit about his false teeth is up next!
To play the Duke of Monmouth, Richard Roxbury had donned a large set of false teeth to give his character like signature buck-toothed look. We’re not sure what his temporary pearly whites were made out of, but we’re sure that they couldn’t have been very comfortable. Way to commit to the part, Richard!
Most Expensive Necklace…Ever!
While the Duke’s teeth may have been fake, that stunning necklace was all real! Well, for the most part. While the necklace was the most expensive piece of jewelry ever made for a movie, they did have to create a “stunt double,” so to speak, for the scene when the Duke rips it off of Satine’s neck. Considering the real necklace was worth a cool $3 million and features 1308 diamonds, we think this was probably a wise decision…
A Substitute Actress
While filming Moulin Rouge!, along with breaking a rib and injuring her foot, actress Nicole Kidman badly injured her knee. This kept her from performing in The Panic Room as she was originally scheduled to do. So, producers cast Jodie Foster for the role. Luckily for Foster, this went on to be one of the hallmark roles of her career!
Another injury related fact is next!
Down on Your Knees
To play Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, John Leguizamo had to find a way to imitate the painter’s disability that left him with legs the length of a typical child’s. So, Leguizamo performed all of his scenes on his knees. Unfortunately, this led to him severely injuring his back. That’s some serious commitment to a role.
A Man in a Band
Jacek Koman, also known as the narcoleptic Argentinean, isn’t acting very much anymore, but that’s for a good reason! He’s the lead signer of the Australian band VulgarGrad. The group plays old Russian criminal songs and punk songs from the Perestroika-era. That’s definitely an interesting change of pace and Koman brings a special spark to the group!