Director Baz Luhrman's historical epic/romance/tourism ad Australia is set to premiere Nov. 19 in its home country before opening wide here Nov. 26. It has a press junket in LA scheduled in between. And as of this writing, it has Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and $130 million worth of Fox's Oscar hopes tied up in an unfinished bundle in Luhrmann's editing bay. No one has seen much more than a couple stirring trailers and, according to Anne Thompson, an unfinished print that screened without effects for a lucky Oprah Winfrey audience (none of whom, of course, were critics). So with less than three weeks before the studio expects to introduce it to the world, what's taking so long?Last month Luhrmann told The Age that he was expecting to hand the 170-minute film to Fox one reel at a time while he tightened "mechanics of storytelling." (The Kidman/Jackman romance, though? Totally believable!) Over the weekend, though, he vaguely hinted that the Nov. 19 date was just another porous deadline:

[W]ith its much-vaunted release date just weeks away, on November 26, nobody has seen a final print of the film. Why? Because one doesn’t exist. “We always thought it was extremely precarious,” Luhrmann admits. “We’re going to give it our all and at the moment it’s an absolutely real date. But I would not be truthful if I didn’t say it’s a little like landing a jumbo jet on an aircraft carrier in a storm…”

Which is to say... impossible? Fox, meanwhile, urged calm today; "We're not missing a deadline," a rep told Thompson. And even if they do, have you seen those recent Luhrmann-directed, state-financed tourism spots? The creepy ones with the Aboriginal kid from the movie? That's what this guy's rush jobs look like, so seriously — let him have as long as he wants.