Following the theatrical release of his critically-acclaimed sophomore directorial effort, The Town, there was much speculation about what project Ben Affleck would be working on behind the camera next. Now there’s word about a film that could feature the Oscar-winning actor/writer/director onscreen: Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
The problem right now is that Affleck still has his eyes set on helming Argo, which is scheduled to begin production this September – while Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby is reportedly gearing up to begin filming a month before that.
Luhrmann painted a different picture of his literary project just a few weeks ago, describing himself as being “in the middle of my own foolish-to-be-talking-about-anything-in-any-regard stage, before you truly have something to express” – with regards to his progress on The Great Gatsby. Now the possibly 3D adaptation looks to be moving forward in a matter of months, and with a noteworthy cast to boot.
THR is reiterating the long-standing claims that Leonardo DiCaprio is set to play the mysterious, but rich and handsome Jay Gatsby, while Tobey Maguire will portray the less colorful Nick Carraway (the narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original novel).
Carey Mulligan remains locked for the role of Daisy Buchanan, the woman who shares a romantic past with Mr. Gatsby. Affleck is postitioned for the role of her husband, Tom, a brazen fellow who essentially serves as the antagonist of the story – though, as Bradley Cooper has pointed out, he’s more complicated than your average melodramatic villain.
Luhrmann is said to be planning to shoot Great Gatsby in his native Australia, instead of the novel’s original setting, Long Island (take that as you will). There’s certainly enough in the way of dramatic material in Fitzgerald’s source material – adultery, long-lost love affairs, and murder – to see why the Moulin Rouge! auteur would be interested in an adaptation. It could certainly fit well with his unremittingly theatrical style of filmmaking.
However, things could prove tricky in that regard as well. The Great Gatsby lends itself to an adaptation that could feel like a soap opera at times (see the 1974 film version) even without Luhrmann’s stylistic touch. I personally would like to see the director’s take on the story, but I won’t deny it has the potential to be overblown.
The prospective cast for Great Gatsby is quite enticing, though: DiCaprio as Gatsby (assuming his schedule allows for it) could be great, Maguire as Nick is good, and Mulligan could make for a very touching and melancholic version of Daisy. Affleck as the brutish Tom sounds promising to me as well – and after his understated turn in The Town, I think more people are interested in seeing Affleck both direct and act in the future.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of The Great Gatsby as more information is released.