Move over Robert Redford. Here comes Leo DiCaprio, and this time he’s not playing a poetic lovelorn punk.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be punchy, because Romeo and Juliet director Baz Luhrmann is heading up this star-jammed adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby—you know, one of the greatest American novels going, named by the Modern Library as second only to Irish author James Joyce’s Modernist masterpiece, Ulysses.
Production on Luhrmann’s 3D Gatsby (you read that right—eye-popping three-dee!) just swung into gear, says The Hollywood Reporter, adding that DiCaprio (as Jay Gatsby), Tobey Maguire (as Nick Carraway), Carey Mulligan (as Daisy Buchanan) and others have assembled in Sydney, Australia to begin filming.
Whatever you think of Luhrmann’s visually spasmodic, often over-the-top prior films—Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Australia—you can’t call him boring. In fact Warner Bros Pictures, which plans to distribute the film, says Luhrmann will “create his own distinctive visual interpretation of the classic story, bringing the period to life in a way that has never been seen before.” Well of course it’s “never been seen before.” Who ever thought the selling point for a contemporary adaptation of Fitzgerald’s post-World War I “roaring twenties” and prohibition commentary would turn out to be stuff like the book’s “valley of ashes” and “eyes of doctor T. J. Eckleburg” popping out of the screen at us through stereoscopic plastic goggles?
In any event, look for award-winning Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan (as Meyer Wolfsheim) and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki (as Jordan Baker) to join the three above as well as Isla Fisher (as Myrtle Wilson), Jason Clarke (as George Wilson) and Joel Edgerton (as Tom Buchanan).
The whole thing’s estimated to cost $125 million, including reports that Luhrmann’s shipping in an army of vintage cars from an auto museum in Illinois. The Hollywood Reporter says three of these—a pair of 1929 Duesenbergs and a 1929 Packard, driven by DiCaprio’s Gatsby—may be worth around $3 million a piece.
So piles of cash, knockout stars, cutting-edge 3D visuals, all to channel a relatively low-key (plot-wise) American classic. What could possibly go wrong?