On Monday (May 2), MTV News paid homage to the 10-year anniversary of Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” with help from the film’s stars, including Ewan McGregor. The actor recalled how exciting it was to work with Luhrmann and leading lady Nicole Kidman. McGregor also remembered that there was lots of excitement for the project — even before he signed on.
“There was a real buzz about it. Everyone knew about ‘Moulin Rouge’ before I met with Baz,” McGregor said during “Moulin Rouge at 10: A Spectacular Spectacular MTV News Event.”
“He asked to meet me to do a kind of workshop and I had done the same thing with Baz before when he was casting for ‘Romeo + Juliet.’ He remembered my audition for that.”
Hollywood insiders weren’t the only ones excited for the project: pop-music fanatics and musical movie-lovers also caught the buzz. With Luhrmann planning spectacular numbers that used beloved pop songs, McGregor knew he had to step up his singing game for the part. McGregor plays Christian, a writer who falls (tragically) in love with a Moulin Rouge performer after moving to Paris during what’s called the Bohemian Revolution in the film.
“I had never sung like I was expected to sing for ‘Moulin Rouge,’ where the singing was a part of the storytelling and not just part of the character. I’ve only ever sung as a character, if you like, before, where if my singing wasn’t very good, it didn’t matter,” he explained. He added about the music, “It had to be on a certain level. … We certainly did a lot of singing training.
“I think I like the tango,” he said about his favorite number, which takes place as Christian and Satine (Kidman) are caught in a love triangle with the Duke, who helps fund the musical the Moulin Rouge cast is staging. The song uses the Police’s 80s classic “Roxanne.”
“There’s something really desperate and fantastic about the tango. And I’ll never forget walking down through the rows of dancers really upset and singing. That was fantastic.”
So, would McGregor sign on to work with Kidman and Luhrmann again? “I’d love to,” he said. “I’m really up for that.”
What’s your favorite musical number in “Moulin Rouge”? Share with us in the comments below!
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