What Happened to Hugh Jackman and Margot Robbie’s Animated Musical?

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The fascination with Australia in the 1980s captivated American culture, from music like “Down Under” to the rise of actors like Mel Gibson, sparking an interest in the land down under. However, this infatuation seemed to fade away until an alternate timeline where DreamWorks Animation planned to revive this Aussie fascination with a film titled “Larrkins.”

“Larrkins” was set to chronicle the adventures of a little blue bilby in the Australian Outback, helmed by Chris Miller and acclaimed songwriter Tim Minchin. Boasting a stellar Australian voice cast including Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Ben Mendelsohn, Jacki Weaver, and Rose Byrne, the project promised to rejuvenate the interest in Australia.

The project started with Minchin joining as the songwriter in 2013, marking a rare original musical venture for DreamWorks Animation. However, the studio faced changes, struggling with box office disappointments like “Turbo” and “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.” Despite this, “Larrkins” was slated for a February 2018 release.

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Following DreamWorks’ acquisition by Comcast in 2016, the studio’s priorities shifted towards franchise-driven content, neglecting original productions like “Larrkins.” New management typically favors their own projects, leading to the shelving of existing ones. This fate also befell “Larrkins,” declared a tax write-off a year before its planned release, preventing other studios from picking it up.

Director Tim Minchin expressed profound disappointment over the project’s demise. Despite being 75% complete, Universal’s decision to write it off and discourage other companies from reviving it dashed any hopes of salvaging the film. However, Minchin’s involvement in subsequent projects like “Back to the Outback” and the short film “Bilby” allowed some aspects of “Larrkins” to reach the public.

“Bilby,” created by directors who previously worked on “Larrkins,” showcased certain assets and characters from the scrapped film, offering a glimpse into its universe. Despite the unfortunate demise of “Larrkins,” its remnants live on in the form of related projects, providing a bittersweet reminder of what could have been.