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Baz Luhrmann Takes Another Crack at Australia in the Faraway Downs Trailer

PLUS: A new sex-cult documentary, Scott Pilgrim goes anime, and Lena Headey is back making genre TV.
  • Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Faraway Downs (Photo: courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
    Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in Faraway Downs (Photo: courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

    If there's a theme to this week's best trailers, it's that it's never too late to revise and repackage our past passion projects. Box-office and critical failure (in the United States, at least) has not stopped Baz Luhrmann from wanting to perfect his epic ode to his homeland, Australia. And so we're getting a six-episode expanded cut of his movie, presented as a limited series. And while Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was an instant cult hit as a live-action movie with animated flourishes (and how!), there's no reason why it shouldn't also exist as an anime. Similarly, there's no way we should have gone this long without Lena Headey headlining a genre TV series. As the best trailers of the week prove, it's never too late to dabble with the things that stoke our passions.

    Best trailer for the week of October 16: Faraway Downs, premieres November 26 on Hulu

    Director Baz Luhrmann spent seven years trying to follow up his Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge!, with three of those years spent in production on Australia. After casting changes (Russell Crowe was swapped out for Hugh Jackman as a rugged cattle drover), his female lead, Nicole Kidman, getting pregnant, myriad budget issues, and even a bout of equine flu, Australia opened in November 2008 and promptly flopped, at least in the United States. Now, fifteen years later, Luhrmann has taken the unprecedented step of taking the original footage from the film and re-editing it into a six-part miniseries for Hulu.

    Luhrmann's original film was an epic, romantic drama, an imagined history of his homeland, with Kidman and Jackman giving their best update on Hepburn and Bogart from The African Queen. If it were any other filmmaker, the idea of expanding a theatrical feature into six episodes worth of a limited series would seem both indulgent and unbearable. With Luhrmann, it only feels like the former. The trailer serves as a great reminder of how gorgeous Australia was. If nothing else, Hulu may have the best-looking show on TV on their hands.

    Honorable Mention: Escaping Twin Flames, premieres November 8 on Netflix

    The filmmakers behind Escaping Twin Flames are already quite familiar with tackling the story of a cult so sinister and fascinating that multiple documentary projects are made about it, seeing as they also made Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult. Prime Video already premiered their documentary about the online community Twin Flames Universe earlier this month. Now Netflix is offering their own take on Jeff and Shaleia Ayan, who promise a harmonious union with your romantic partner but instead have allegedly been manipulating and exploiting their members. The nature of a cult that operates as an online community means there is a ton of firsthand footage of Twin Flames, and this trailer uses Jeff's own words to promise that the viewer will be getting "some prime ass tea."

    Honorable Mention: Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, premieres November 17 on Netflix

    Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim graphic novels were adapted by Edgar Wright into the 2010 movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. In that film, the aloof title character, played by Michael Cera, fell for the beguiling Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and then had to battle her seven evil exes in order to win her heart in a story that mixed video-game visuals, winking absurdity, and an all-star cast that included Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, Jason Schwartzman, Kieran Culkin, and Mae Whitman, among many others. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is an anime remake of that same story, with the entire cast of Wright's movie back to voice their original characters, something which the trailer (rightly) makes a point to tout loudly. Anime seems like the perfect style with which to depict a Scott Pilgrim story; maybe a little too perfect, given that the charm of Wright's film was in essentially grafting the freedom of animation/video games onto a live-action movie. But fans of the source material will no doubt be thrilled to see their faves on screen again.

    Honorable mention: Beacon 23, premieres November 12 on MGM+

    Speaking of seeing faves back on screen again, Lena Headey has only appeared on TV sporadically since Game of Thrones ended (a few voice roles in animated projects, plus playing E. Howard Hunt's wife in The White House Plumbers). She's back in a leading role here on Beacon 23, which sells itself via this trailer on an intriguing premise: Headey plays a space traveler whose ship crashes — accidentally? Intentionally? — on the titular space station Beacon 23, situated on the edge of the known universe. Stylistically and also functionally, this Beacon station is modeled after a lighthouse, which makes Stephan James the lighthouse keeper. The trailer promises a kind of battle of wills between these two people, whose agendas are probably not what they seem. MGM+ has been in search of a breakthrough series since rebranding itself from EPIX, and whether or not Beacon 23 is it, if Only Murders in the Building has taught us anything, it's that a lighthouse is the perfect location for a mystery tale.

    Honorable mention: Invincible, Season 2 premieres November 3 on Prime Video

    Robert Kirkman's animated superhero tale returns to Prime Video in November, two and a half years since its first season dropped (though we did get a one-off special in July of this year). Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) ended the first season being betrayed by his superhero father, something the trailer suggests he's still not over. The trailer also presents a new opponent for Mark, voiced by Sterling K. Brown, as well as a plot that seems to have to do with — brace yourselves, MCU fans — a multiverse.

    TOPICS: Faraway Downs, Beacon 23, Escaping Twin Flames, Invincible, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman, Lena Headey, Nicole Kidman