Baz Luhrmann is certainly one of those filmmakers who deserves points for ambition, if nothing else. He's been planning a new cinematic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's revered literary classic, The Great Gatsby, for over three years now, and word got out a few months ago that he wants to shoot the picture in 3D as well.
Then came word that Luhrmann might not be pressing forward with this project after all, despite reports that production has already commenced down under in Sydney, Australia - with the likes of Leondaro DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan attached to play former lovers Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, respectively.
Vulture caught up with the Luhrmann at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's gala dinner and managed to get a bit of clarification on the status of his Great Gatsby adaptation. Here's what Luhrmann has to offer on the matter:
"I'm not doing 'Gatsby' right now... Because despite what might be out there, I have made no comment about anything. So until I say it, it's not said, you know."
Luhrmann was also fairly non-committal on the matter of specific casting rumors for The Great Gatsby, as well his possibly filming in 3D and shooting on location in Australia - even though Fitzgerald's original novel was set on Long Island. To quote him directly:
“Like I said, I’m in the middle of my own foolish-to-be-talking-about-anything-in-any-regard stage, before you truly have something to express. I’m in the middle of my own moment and my team’s, and I’m just building culture. Building creative culture.”
Actor Bradley Cooper has now voiced his own interest in joining the cast of Luhrmann's Great Gatsby. He's (surprisingly) not eying the role of the titular-handsome-man-with-a-romantic-past, but that of the brass and brutish Tom Buchanan, who was previously portrayed onscreen by Bruce Dern in director Jack Clayton's 1974 adaptation of the novel.
Here's what Cooper told the New York Times, with respect to the part of Tom Buchanan:
"To me, he's the best character in the book. He's so complicated. He's xenophobic, he's an alcoholic, but he also understands some profound stuff about class. Whoever plays it has to take a gentle hand, because it could so easily be stock, where he’s a rich jerk you don’t identify with at all."
Cooper's career should continue to flourish this year, between his starring in this week's Limitless and having The Hangover 2 on the horizon. It sounds as though Cooper very much has the right idea about how to portray Mr. Buchanan in a fittingly empathetic, but nonetheless despicable light... so... Baz Luhrmann, if you're reading this, you might want to give Cooper some actual thought. ;-)
While Mulligan's involvement with Luhrmann's Great Gatsby could essentially be set in stone at this point, DiCaprio sounds like more of a wild card. The actor is currently working on J. Edgar with Clint Eastwood, but he's already in line to headline upcoming projects like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Devil in the White City. It's possible someone else will be following in Robert Redford's footsteps portraying Jay Gatsby onscreen.
Luhrmann is well known for his theatrical and energetic filmmaking style, so his taking on Fitzgerald's classic story may or may not be a good thing, depending on your perspective. A 3D film shot under the direction of Luhrmann could certainly look quite dazzling - but would it be fitting in this case, given the source material?
We'll keep you posted on the status of Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby as more information is released.