Principal photography on writer/director Baz Luhrmann’s expensive adaptation of The Great Gatsby officially commenced about six weeks ago (at the time of writing) on location in Australia – which will “play” Long Island in the film. The Leonardo DiCaprio-headlined period drama/romance has long been expected to reach theaters before the end of 2012, in order to qualify for the 2013 Academy Awards.

Warner Bros. has officially settled on a U.S. theatrical release date for The Great Gatsby – and, as it turns out, another DiCaprio-starring period piece will be hitting theaters that same day.

Great Gatsby is set for a December 25th, 2012 U.S. theatrical release, where it will open directly against Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained – a movie that features DiCaprio in an antagonistic role, in opposition to his good-hearted lead turn in Great Gatsby. So, fans of the actor should be ready to see the man take on two strikingly different personas – that of a hopeless romantic in Gatsby and a malicious slave owner in Django – during next year’s holiday season.

In case you missed it, here’s the official synopsis for Luhrmann’s new project:

“The Great Gatsby” follows Fitzgerald-like, 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 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.

While plenty of Luhrmann fans will be eager to see the filmmaker put his own stylized turn on Fitzgerald’s allegorical tale, most people seem (frankly) confounded by the fact that this new Great Gatsby adaptation will not only cost $150 million – but also, be shot in 3D. Put mildly, that seems excessive, seeing how Fitzgerald’s novel is essentially a character-driven melodrama.

On the other hand: that budget assures that Luhrmann will recreate Gatsby‘s 1920s setting with an impressive amount of flair and visual panache. So long as the story and characters, who are being brought to life by an overall excellent collection of thespians, aren’t left in the dust – that’s not guaranteed to be a bad thing. As always, we shall have to wait and see…

Feel free to let us know which DiCaprio-starring vehicle due to hit theaters on Christmas Day 2012 – The Great Gatsby or Django Unchained – you’re more interested in seeing.

Source: Warner Bros.