Fox Searchlight Pictures has announced that production onJocelyn Moorhouse’s Eucalyptus,which stars Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, will not go ahead as scheduled”to allow time for further work on the script”.

The news felt somehow prophetic to local film observers whohad been disturbed at the prospect of the considerably older Kidman playing the19-year-old in Murray Bail’s iconic Australian novel of the same name.The script was being rewritten to accommodate her.

In the book a man — initially to be played by Geoffrey Rushbut subsequently Jack Thompson — announces that his beloved young daughter canonly marry a man who can name the hundreds of species of eucalyptus trees onhis property.

“In orderfor Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman to be a part of this low-budget Australianproduction, there was a small window within which both were available,” aFox statement read. “Pre-production elements were accelerated to try tomeet this opening, but unfortunately the time was not sufficient. Searchlight plansto remount the film when schedules permit.”

The creative team behind the production, including UbertoPasolini who is producing with Lynda House, said that the postponement”in no way lessens our passion to bring Murray Bail’s beautifulAustralian novel to the big screen”.

Crowe is also executive producing the film, which wasoriginally scheduled to go into production in northern New South Wales latelast year but was postponed. Kidman has complained about the paparazzi’sunfair treatment of her since arriving in Australia for filming late lastmonth.