Illustration by André Carrilho
Robyn Davidson’s book Tracks seemed tailor-made for a David Lean–style epic: In 1977, Davidson trekked across 1,700 miles of Australian outback, alone but for the company of four camels and a dog. “It’s a difficult book to adapt,” says director John Curran, who first encountered the story when backpacking through Australia in the early ’80s. “It’s first-person, this woman alone in the desert, with a lot of meditative moments.” He nonetheless tackled the memoir, casting Aussie native Mia Wasikowska as the lead. (The film opens September 19.) “As a character, she’s very quiet and reserved but also very sharp—she’s got that writer’s eye,” Curran says. Wasikowska is not the only star: Curran was particularly pleased with his four camel actors. “After a while, it was like the camels knew they were on camera,” he says with a laugh. “When we said, ‘Action,’ they were real hams.”
And Six Other Cultural To-Dos
9/4–14: The Toronto International Film Festival, the unofficial start of awards season, kicks off.
9/7: The fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire premieres today. Will Nucky survive?
9/10–13: Pianist Leif Oves Andsnes plays Beethoven’s first concerto at the San Francisco Symphony.
9/21: Yan Pei-Ming and Bertrand Lavier present new artworks at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France.
9/24: Malian songstress Rokia Traoré performs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.
9/27–12/14: London’s Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major retrospective of German painter Anselm Kiefer.
—By Julian Sancton