FILM: THE GREAT GATSBY
From the uniquely imaginative mind of writer/producer/director Baz Luhrmann comes the new big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’. In his adaptation, the filmmaker combines his distinctive visual, sonic, and storytelling styles in three dimensions, weaving a Jazz Age cocktail faithful to Fitzgerald’s text and relevant to now. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the title role.
‘The Great Gatsby’ follows would-be writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks.
Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
Writer/producer/director Baz Luhrmann first encountered ‘The Great Gatsby’ on the screen, in 1974, in remote Heron’s Creek, Australia, where his father ran the gas station and, briefly, the cinema.
Cut to 2004. Cold, northern Russia. The clatter of train tracks. The flicker of light through the frosty window. “I had just wrapped ‘Moulin Rouge!’ and was off on ‘a debriefing adventure’”, Luhrmann recalls. “Crazily enough, I’d decided to take the Trans-Siberian Express from Beijing, across northern Russia, and then on to Paris to meet my wife and newly born daughter, Lilly.” And it was in Siberia, in a sardine-box of a cabin, that Luhrmann again re-encountered ‘The Great Gatsby’, this time as an audio book, one of two he had with him. And so, as the train beat on against the rusty tracks, the first imaginings of Luhrmann’s adaption of ‘The Great Gatsby’ were born.
Securing the rights was the first step, but Luhrmann knew that, ultimately, the project would be pinned on the title character. He needed to find an actor who could express Gatsby’s core complexity, smile, “one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it,” and then, in a flash, look “as if he had killed a man.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom Luhrmann had worked on ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet’, and whom Luhrmann counted as a friend and collaborator, was the obvious choice.
CAST: LEONARDO DICAPRIO, CAREY MULLIGAN, ISLA FISHER, JOEL EDGERTON, TOBEY MAGUIRE, CALLAN MCAULIFFE, JASON CLARKE, ELIZABETH DEBICKI, DANIEL NEWMAN
DIRECTOR: BAZ LUHRMANN