Baz Luhrmann Needs A "Great" Woman for his "Great Gatsby" Adaptation

11/04/2010 Posted by Admin

Baz Luhrmann Needs A "Great" Woman for his "Great Gatsby" Adaptation

Movie News

By our guest blogger, Matthew Jussim

Back when the news first dropped last year that Baz Luhrmann would be helming a new adaptation of the classic American novel "The Great Gatsby," I admit it, I was unsure of how to react.

Not that I think Baz is a bad director, but I hold the novel in such high regard (it is no doubt my favorite book all-time) that I really hoped that if a new adaptation would go into production, it would be with someone like Martin Scorsese or Joe Wright (who I think, after seeing "Atonement," could handle any period piece anywhere). And after seeing how authentic "Boardwalk Empire" looks, a guy like Martin would be perfect.

But after my initial reaction, I let things set in for a while. Then the news on the film started coming out, and suddenly, I was a believer.

I hate to state rumors as fact, but these are just too hard to pass up. According to The Wrap, a few weeks ago longtime friends Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire were in New York workshopping scenes for Luhrmann's planned adaptation. Of course, reading for a role does not necessarily mean an actor is signed for it, but why would such high-profile actors spend time workshopping if there wasn't at least a CHANCE they'd be signing onto the film?

On top of that news came out this week courtesy of Deadline that actress Rebecca Hall, most recently seen in "The Town" as well as in Christopher Nolan's underrated "The Prestige," is supposedly the top choice to play the immortal role of Daisy Buchanon in the adaptation.

Luhrmann will audition numerous actresses before making a decision, with Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson all making the wish list. Hall has the edge, especially considering that she participated in Luhrmann's workshop reading in the role with DiCaprio as Gatsby and Maguire as Nick Carraway.

Numerous filmmakers have taken on the legendary work, most recently a 2000 TV version starring Paul Rudd, Toby Stephens and Mira Sorvino, and the best-known adaptation being the 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. The 1974 film was written by Francis Ford Coppola, and while it's a pretty good movie, there always was the feeling that something was missing from it.

I'm trying my best not to jump for joy, because until the actors are actually signed on anything can happen, but I think Maguire and DiCaprio are absolutely perfect for the roles. The fact that they are friends means it makes even more sense, because for any "Gatsby" adaptation to work, the characters of Gatsby and Carraway will have to have some sort of chemistry.

The two have worked together before in both "This Boy's Life" and the little-seen indie "Don's Plum." And we all know DiCaprio and Luhrmann do well together--remember the artsy and interesting "Romeo and Juliet"?

In regards to Daisy, Hall was excellent in "The Town," so if she ends up wining the role, I have no beef with that. I also have no beef with Luhrmann's wish list, which is filled with some beautiful, talented actresses as well.

Luhrmann co-adapted the script with Craig Pearce, who worked on "Moulin Rouge." The book is considered to be one of the greatest American novels ever written, so why not make into one of the best American films of all time?

That's what I'm hoping Luhrmann can pull off, because if he can lock down that cast (and maybe someone like Jeffery Dean Morgan for Tom?), he is going to have one hell of a production on his hands.

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