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Ever since it was announced that Baz Luhrmann would be filming an adaptation of The Great Gatsby, I’ve been in something like the five stages of grief.  I mean, we’ve all witnessed what became of Romeo and Juliet after being pressed through the sieve of Luhrmann’s sensibilities.  It went in a tragedy and came out a tragicomedy music video.  Which is a little fantastic, I have to admit, but not quite … right.   And now my beloved Gatsby, like Romeo before him, has been officially Luhrmannized despite my many pleas that I would do anything if Luhrmann would just remake Streets of Fire instead.  Another thing I have to admit is that I’ve watched this trailer more than once since it debuted yesterday, and I might just be approaching acceptance. Anticipation, even.  Here’s a look at Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby:

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TNB Arts and Culture Editor CYNTHIA HAWKINS teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Most of what she thinks she knows comes from movies, including how to tango, how to take someone down with a ballpoint pen, how to curse in French, and how to catch a moving train. Her work, on movies and otherwise, has appeared in literary journals and magazines such as ESPN the Magazine, Parent:Wise Magazine, The Good Men Project, New World Writing, Strange Horizons, and numerous alternative weeklies and anthologies. You can find Cynthia on Twitter and at cynthiahawkins.net.

21 responses to “Baz Luhrmann Debuts The Great Gatsby Trailer”

  1. pixy says:

    thank god i’m not the only one who thinks he’d do a FANTASTIC “streets of fire” remake. 🙂 as long as it still has diane lane in it. and the need to fit michael pare in there somewhere too.

    it’s part of my “it’s a blizzard! let’s have a michael pare marathon!” memories.

  2. Gloria says:

    I loved both Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliette. I love the look and the feel and the whole sensory experience of a Luhrmann film. And I love Gatsby. This should be so fun!

  3. James D. Irwin says:

    I hate Baz Luhrmann.

    Romeo + Juliet looks amazing, but that’s it. Leonardo Di Caprio just isn’t very good, Danes seems like a nice girl, but not worth dying for, and a couple of the supporting cast look like they belong in a bad Red Hot Chili Peppers tribite band. Mercutio is quite good though. His death scene is probably the only truly great part of the film, and that’s largely because of the swelling storm in the background that Luhrmann had nothing to do with.

    The casting was awful and inappropriate and for some reason the opening chorus is done twice. Both are quite cool (love the idea of it done as a news report) but the fact there are two just seems like he couldn’t decide which idea he preferred and just did both. There’s more to Shakespeare than quick edits and open shirts.

    Also, Romeo + Juliet sounds like the start of a maths sum. Romeo + Juliet = Tragedy!

    Gatsby looks like it’s going to have the same problems. Looks fantastic visually, but none of the cast really seem appropriate. DiCaprio again… he’s a good actor, but he still only looks about 18. It fit in Romeo and Juliet, but it feels wrong for Gatsby. The same really applies for Maguire. And I love Carey Mulligan, but she doesn’t look like Daisy to me.

    • My fear is that …. well, let’s back up. So Luhrmann has this highly stylized, nonrealistic look to his films (or is it hyperreal or surreal? I’m not even sure what to call it except that I know it looks like a storybook page come to life) combined with his special brand of quirkiness/funniness that works really well with some subjects (Moulin Rouge) and not others (Australia). And my fear is that his aesthetic will not work well with The Great Gatsby as a whole. I’ll give it a chance … even though that scene in the film trailer with dripping wet DiCaprio as Gatsby straining to stay composed is so melodramatic it makes me laugh every time.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        The thing with period films is the setting is already strange and exciting they don’t need or want visually jazzing up. I may be spoilt, because period sets are something the BBC does very well, but I prefer accuracy rather than stylistic bells and whistles.

        I’d like to be thrown into a realistic, accurate 1920s West Egg, and have the characters look vaguely the way I imagine them than Luhrmann’s stylised candylands and talented, but inappropriate, casts. Substance over style.

  4. Art Edwards says:

    Is this becoming our Pride and Prejudice? I hope so.

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  6. Greg Olear says:

    I taught Gatsby in my writing class this year, and we talked about the film in class. The problem with Gatsby as a film is simple: what would be the climax of the film — the Daisy killing Myrtle/George killing Gatsby sequence — appears quite early in the book. There’s a loooong denouement, which works beautifully in the novel, but doesn’t translate to the screen. It’d be like killing Dracula, and then having another 40 minutes left in the movie.

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