Photos of Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Tobey Maguire riding around in a shiny old-fashioned automobile that will be used in The Great Gatsby leaked out this past week.

Luhrmann has now officially begun principal photography on his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, which has been adapted for the big screen several times before. Now, however, it will be given a $150 million 3D makeover, courtesy of the man who brought us films like Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet.

That Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby is being shot in 3D has left many a fan of Fitzgerald’s character-driven novel (and moviegoers in general) perplexed, to say the least. On the other hand, the film’s impressive cast should help ensure that this turns out to be a pretty good literary interpretation.

In case you somehow ducked out of reading Fitzgerald’s cherished American novel in high school (or have yet to get there), here is an official synopsis for Luhrmann’s adaptation:

“The Great Gatsby” follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway (Maguire) as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby (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 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.

Additional members of the cast include Isla Fisher as Tom’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson; Jason Clarke (Public Enemies) as Myrtle’s (for a while) oblivious husband, George; and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker, a cynical professional golfer who becomes the semi-love interest for Maguire as Nick.

Luhrmann is co-writing the Great Gatsby adaptation with his Red Curtain trilogy collaborator, Craig Pearce, and will once again work with multiple Academy Award-winning production/costume designer Catherine Martin (she’s worked on all of Luhrman’s previous directorial efforts). Serving as the director of photography for the film will be Simon Duggan (I, Robot, Underworld: Evolution, Live Free or Die Hard).

Luhrmann on the set of 'Moulin Rouge!'

The casting for Great Gatsby seems pretty dead on, as far as playing to each actor or actress’ strengths go (see: DiCaprio as the handsome, but haunted, Gatsby, Edgerton as the physically-intimidating Tom, etc.). Luhrmann’s truly unique visual style in movies like Moulin Rouge! tends to inspire love/hate reactions from people, but chances are good that he’ll design Fitzgerald’s story as more a conventional, but grandiose, period drama, along the lines of his last film, Australia.

Therein lies the reason for concern that Luhrmann’s new production will suffer from the same issues that most people feel severely weakened Australia – namely, a bloated narrative, overblown production values, and so much romanticized atmosphere that the movie often crossed over into unintentionally campy territory. Hence why the idea of Luhrmann shooting a 3D version of Great Gatsby – one budgeted far north of $100 million – kind of reads as being a mixed blessing right now.

Look for The Great Gatsby to arrive in theaters by late 2012.

Source: Warner Bros./Village Roadshow