The New York lights glitter in the night. In West Egg, a mansion is filled with crowds adorned in opulent ’20s garments. Guests dance and converse on every confetti-blanketed surface. Fireworks boom above their heads as restlessness envelopes the air.
First, take a story set in 1920s America about the inability to forget the past, the pursuit of the American Dream and, ultimately, tragedy. Add the mysterious and moneyed Jay Gatsby, and you have arguably the best piece of Jazz Age American fiction.
Thanks to Australian writer, producer and director Baz Luhrmann, I’ll be able to see my favorite novel come alive (again) with his rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved classic “The Great Gatsby,” in theaters Friday.
“That book is now,” Luhrmann said at the movie’s world premiere. “That book is us. That book reflects who we are, where we are now. I mean, it’s always relevant, but it’s particularly relevant now.”
Luhrmann’s work of art will be released in 3-D as well as 2-D.
Effervescent diamonds, suede furniture and fringe that Tina Turner would be proud of — all of this will intermix on the big screen with a star-packed cast: Leonardo DiCaprio playing Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson and Tobey Maguire as the novel’s narrator, Nick Carraway.
I’ve loved DiCaprio since his Jack Dawson days, so having him play the title character is the icing on the cake.
“When you’re talking about that character with those qualities, there’s not much of a list,” Luhrmann said at the premiere. “It was always Leonardo.”
Despite being a little bitter that the original release date of Christmas 2012 didn’t go according to plan, I’m happy to see the film come to fruition this weekend.
In the novel that debuted in 1925, Minnesota-born Fitzgerald depicts what some would consider the moral-loosening era with ease, having lived through it himself.
I was able to get a taste of the decade in Woody Allen’s 2011 film, “Midnight in Paris,” when the film’s main character, Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson), is sent back to the Roaring Twenties. Pender even “meets” Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, in the movie.
But it’s a whole different story when it’s your favorite novel.
How can you not be excited for “Gatsby” after seeing the three official movie trailers? They’re visual feasts.
The second trailer opens with Gatsby talking about his life from “(living) in all the capitols of Europe, collecting jewels, hunting big game, painting a little,” presenting the track “No Church in the Wild” by Kanye West and Jay-Z, featuring Grammy nominee Frank Ocean.
And it wouldn’t be a trailer without the glimpse of a ritzy, glitter-gold party in true Gatsby fashion. Red Solo cups aren’t on the grocery list.
The trailer progresses with Filter’s rendition of The Turtle’s “Happy Together” as the background track for a scene featuring Gatsby and Daisy. Clever, clever.
Intensity pinnacles as the trailer flashes action-packed, chilling scenes.
While this won’t be the first time Fitzgerald’s masterpiece has been made into a film, it’s never been in the hands of Luhrmann, the guy who brought you “Moulin Rouge!” and “Romeo + Juliet.”
The film’s soundtrack was released on Tuesday. The collection features big-name musicians Jay-Z, will.i.am, Lana Del Rey, Florence + The Machine, Gotye and Jack White with his cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness.”
Florence + The Machine’s “Over the Love” was made specifically for the soundtrack, written from the point of view of leading lady Daisy Buchanan: “There’s green light in my eyes/And my lover on my mind.”
Hopefully you “Gatsby” fanatics out there got the not-so-subtle splendor of that lyric from the track.
Each song on the soundtrack is a puzzle piece, fitting perfectly into Luhrmann’s depiction of Fitzgerald’s novel.
Get out your bubbly and diamonds: “The Great Gatsby” is bound to be a box office hit. And if the film lives up to the trailers, Luhrmann can start writing his Oscar acceptance speech (Calling it!).
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
— “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald