SYDNEY, Australia - It was hot and dusty during filming in one of the world's most remote locations. But Nicole Kidman says the prospect of a smooch with Hugh Jackman eased the troubles of working on the Outback romance, "Australia."
"Obviously we're in character when we kiss, but it was good to go to work," a laughing Kidman told a news conference Tuesday ahead of the worldwide premiere of the film, in which Kidman's prim British aristocrat character falls in love with Jackman's rugged cattleman in World War II-era Australia.
"It was hot. Literally hot," quipped Jackman, who first came to prominence in stage musicals and whose Hollywood star is rising thanks to films such as the "X-Men" franchise.
With a budget reportedly of $120 million or more - which would make it the most expensive ever made in Australia - the new film carries high stakes for its largely homegrown team, including director Baz Luhrmann, Kidman and Jackman.
"Rarely do you get to make a film that you've dreamed of doing since you were little, which is to be part of the Australian cinema. I haven't really had a film that's done that in a big way," Kidman said.
Much of the filming took place during the hot and humid summer months in northwestern Australia, on a remote ranch in the Kimberly region and in Darwin, where the characters become caught up in Japan's bombing raids.
Luhrmann, director of the colorful, eccentric "Moulin Rouge," said he wanted to create a period drama about "the far away," and on a more personal level, discover his home.
"We have amazing landscapes and historical events," Luhrmann said of Australia. "Epics are made of these things."
Oscar-winner Kidman, who has a 4-month-old girl with husband and country singer Keith Urban, said she wasn't sure what was next for her career.
"I'm in a place in my life where I've had some great opportunities, and I may just choose to have some more children," she said. "There's many things I want to do besides act."
More than 3,000 guests are expected to attend Tuesday night's premiere, and the usually busy street leading to the cinema in downtown Sydney was closed all day, causing downtown traffic snarls during rush hour. Officials rolled out a massive red carpet in front of the theater, and hundreds of people lined security fences hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars.
The movie is being simultaneously screened in three other Australian cities that were featured in the film - Darwin, Bowen and Kununurra. It opens internationally on Nov. 26, and the country's national and state tourism boards have launched worldwide campaigns in connection with the movie.