Things are beginning to heat up for Baz Luhrmann’s long-planned adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby. The Australian filmmaker is now eying an August start date for production on the 3D project and has a handful of big names committed to starring in the film.

Ben Affleck, however, is officially no longer a prospective member of the film’s cast; Isla Fisher, on the other hand, is all but set to sign on as Myrtle, the woman who leads a doomed affair with Tom Buchanan (the role Affleck was circling) in Great Gatsby.

Deadline says that Affleck is simply committed to begin shooting on his new film, the true-story thriller Argo, this September, and thus won’t be available to work on Great Gatsby with Luhrmann. Heat Vision has the scoop on Fisher, who is currently in negotiations to join Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan as cast members for the literary adaptation.

For those who skipped out on reading Fitzgerald’s novel in high school (or have yet to get there): The Great Gatsby tells the tale of one Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio), a self-made millionaire who shares a romantic history with the lovely Daisy (Mulligan), a woman now married to the brutish but wealthy Tom Buchanan.

Nick Carraway (Maguire) serves as the narrator and passive participant of the story, which sees Gatsby attempt to rekindle his romance with Daisy and woo her away from her luxurious but empty life with Tom. It’s not really a spoiler to say that things don’t work out so well for those crazy kids.

Luhrmann penned the Great Gatsby adaptation with his Red Curtain Trilogy co-writer Craig Pearce and reportedly plans to shoot the project in his native Australia – as opposed to Long Island, the setting in Fitzgerald’s novel. Deadline indicates that may be due to a desire to keep production costs down, since Luhrmann is also looking into hiring Australian actors as extras in the film for that same reason.

IMDb currently lists Hayley Atwell (Captain America) as being rumored to join the cast of Great Gatsby as well, in the role of (for lack of a better description) cynical professional golfer Jordan Baker. The confirmed cast for the film seems pretty solid to me; DiCaprio as the tragically romantic Gatsby, Maguire as the skeptical Nick, and Mulligan as the flakey Daisy all look pretty good on paper. And yes, that is a simplified take on each character.

The almost operatic nature of Fitzgerald’s story could work quite well in Luhrmann’s hands, though his tendency to play everything big and flashy – in terms of style, emotion, and content – may result in a Great Gatsby adaptation that’s a bit too bombastic. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

We’ll keep you posted on the status of The Great Gatsby as more information is released.

Source: Deadline, THR