The Great Gatsby (2013 film)
|The Great Gatsby|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Baz Luhrmann|
|Produced by||Baz Luhrmann
|Screenplay by||Baz Luhrmann
|Based on||The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
|Music by||Craig Armstrong|
|Editing by||Matt Villa
|Studio||Village Roadshow Pictures
Red Wagon Entertainment
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||143 minutes|
|Box office||$72,143,604 |
The Great Gatsby is a 2013 3D romantic drama film. An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name, the film was co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. It follows the life and times of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbor Nick, who recounts his encounter with Gatsby at the height of the Roaring Twenties.
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Yale University graduate and World War I veteran, is a depressed and sad alcoholic who is visiting his psychiatrist. He talks about a man named Gatsby, describing him as the most hopeful man he had ever met. When he struggles to articulate his thoughts, his doctor suggests writing it down, since writing is what brings him solace.
In the summer of 1922, Nick moves from the U.S. Midwest to New York, where he takes a job as a bond salesman. He rents a small house on Long Island in the (fictional) village of West Egg, next door to the lavish mansion of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a mysterious millionaire who holds extravagant parties. Nick drives across the bay to East Egg for dinner at the home of his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), and her husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton), a college acquaintance of Nick's. They introduce Nick to Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki), an attractive, cynical young golfer with whom Daisy wishes to couple Nick.
Jordan reveals to Nick that Tom has a mistress that lives in the "valley of ashes," an industrial dumping ground between West Egg and New York City. Not long after this revelation, Nick travels with Tom to the valley of ashes, where they stop by a garage owned by George Wilson (Jason Clarke) and his wife, Myrtle (Isla Fisher), who is Tom's lover that Jordan mentioned. Nick goes with Tom and Myrtle to an apartment that they keep for their affair, where Myrtle throws a vulgar and bizarre party that ends with Tom slapping her as she taunts him about Daisy.
As the summer progresses, Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. Upon arriving, he learns that none of the guests at the party, though there are hundreds, have ever met Gatsby himself, and they have developed multiple theories as to who he is. Nick encounters Jordan, and they meet Gatsby himself, an aloof and surprisingly young man. Through Jordan, Nick later learns that Gatsby knew Daisy from a romantic encounter in 1917, and is still madly in love with her. He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock, across the bay from his mansion, hoping to one day rekindle their lost romance. Gatsby’s extravagant lifestyle and wild parties are an attempt to impress Daisy in the hopes that she will one day appear at Gatsby's doorstep. Gatsby now wants Nick to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will be there also.
After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy reconnect, and they begin an affair. Shortly after, Daisy and Tom attend one of Gatsby's parties, where Tom grows increasingly suspicious of his wife's relationship with Gatsby. Throughout a luncheon at the Buchanans' house, Gatsby stares at Daisy with such undisguised passion that Tom realizes Gatsby is in love with her. Though Tom himself is involved in an extramarital affair, he is deeply outraged by his wife's infidelity. He forces the group to drive into New York City, where he confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom asserts that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal whose fortune comes from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal activities. This pushes Gatsby to his breaking point, and he has an explosive outburst of anger, much to his own dismay. After this incident, Daisy realizes that her allegiance is to Tom, who contemptuously sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt him.
When Nick, Jordan, and Tom drive through the valley of ashes, however, they discover that Gatsby’s car has struck and killed Myrtle, Tom’s lover. They rush back to Long Island, where Nick learns from Gatsby that Daisy, wanting to calm her nerves, had been driving the car at the time of the accident. However, Gatsby intends to take the blame. Despite the events that occurred at the Plaza, Gatsby is convinced that Daisy will call him the next day. That night, he reveals to Nick that he was born penniless, and his real name is James Gatz. In the morning, Nick leaves for work while Gatsby decides to go for a swim before his pool is drained for the season. He asks for the telephone to be brought down to the pool, still waiting for Daisy to call. Meanwhile, Tom tells Myrtle’s husband, George, that Gatsby was the driver of the car. George jumps to the conclusion that Gatsby had also been Myrtle's lover, and he retrieves a gun. Back at the mansion, Gatsby hears the phone ring, and believes it to be Daisy. As he is climbing out of the pool while looking hopefully across the bay at Daisy's mansion, he is abruptly shot and killed by George, who immediately turns the gun on himself. It is revealed that it is Nick on the phone, and he hears the two gunshots.
When Nick calls the Buchanans to invite Daisy to Gatsby's funeral, he learns that she, Tom, and their daughter are leaving New York. Only the press attend the funeral, who Nick chases out. The media accuses Gatsby of being both the murderer and lover of Myrtle, leaving Nick as the only one who knows the truth. He soon moves back to the Midwest to escape the disgust he feels for the people surrounding Gatsby's life, as well as the moral decay and emptiness of the wealthy of the East Coast. Back in his psychiatrist's office, he finishes his memoir and titles it, "The Great Gatsby."
Production and filming 
Filming began on September 5, 2011, in Sydney, Australia. Originally scheduled for a December 2012 release, on August 6, 2012, it was reported that the film was being moved to a summer 2013 release date. In September 2012, this date was confirmed to be May 10, 2013. The film opened the 66th Cannes Film Festival, shortly following its wide release in RealD 3D and 2D formats.
- Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby
- Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway
- Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan
- Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan
- Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker
- Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson
- Jason Clarke as George B. Wilson
- Amitabh Bachchan as Meyer Wolfsheim
- Jack Thompson as Nick Carraway's Doctor, Walter Perkins
- Max Cullen as Owl Eyes
- Callan McAuliffe as Young Jay Gatsby
- Adelaide Clemens as Catherine
- Gus Murray as Teddy Barton
- Stephen James King as Nelson
- Jens Holck as a Monk
- Alison Benstead as Anita Loos
- Gemma Ward as Languid Girl
- Joel Amos Byrnes as Rowdie
- Chris Proctor as William
- Kate Mulvany as Mrs. McKee
- Kim Knuckey as Senator
- Conor Fogarty as Gatsby's Butler
- Sam Davis as a Barman
- Edward Midgley as Ernest Lilly
- Gareth Hamilton-Foster as Gatsby's Waiter
Prior to this version there had already been a Broadway play and numerous film adaptations of F. Scott Fitzgerald's acclaimed 1925 novel of the same name. In December 2008, Variety magazine reported that this film adaptation was to be made with Baz Luhrmann to direct it.
Luhrmann stated that he planned it to be more timely due to its theme of criticizing the often irresponsible lifestyles of wealthy people. In order to commit to the project, in September 2010 Luhrmann moved with his family from Australia to Chelsea in Lower Manhattan, where he had intended to film The Great Gatsby. While Luhrmann was at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he had been workshopping The Great Gatsby in 3D, though he had not yet decided whether to shoot in the format. In late January 2011, Luhrmann showed doubt about staying on board with the project, before deciding to stay.
In 2010 it was reported that the movie was being set up by Sony Pictures Entertainment but by 2011 Warner Bros. was close to acquiring a deal to finance and take worldwide distribution of The Great Gatsby, according to Deadline Hollywood.
Luhrmann said the results from the movie's workshop process of auditioning actors for roles in The Great Gatsby had been "very encouraging" to him. Leonardo DiCaprio was cast first in the title role of Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire was cast to play Nick Carraway.
Reports linked Amanda Seyfried to the lead role of Daisy Buchanan, in October 2010. The next month Deadline Hollywood reported that Luhrmann had been auditioning numerous actresses, including Keira Knightley, Rebecca Hall, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Michelle Williams, and Scarlett Johansson, as well as considering Natalie Portman, for Daisy. Soon after, with her commitment to Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo, Johansson pulled out.
On November 15, Luhrmann announced that Mulligan had been cast to play Daisy after reading for the part on November 2 in New York. She got the role shortly after Luhrmann showed her audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment executives Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, who were impressed by the actress's command of the character. Mulligan burst into tears after learning of her casting via a phone call from Luhrmann, who informed her of his decision while she was on the red carpet at an event in New York. Luhrmann said "I was privileged to explore the character with some of the world's most talented actresses, each one bringing their own particular interpretation, all of which were legitimate and exciting. However, specific to this particular production of The Great Gatsby, I was thrilled to pick up the phone an hour ago to the young Oscar-nominated British actress Carey Mulligan and say to her: 'Hello, Daisy Buchanan.'"
In April, Ben Affleck was in talks about playing the role of Tom Buchanan but had to pass due to a scheduling conflict with Argo. Several weeks later, Affleck was replaced by Joel Edgerton. Bradley Cooper had previously lobbied for the part and Luke Evans was a major contender. Isla Fisher was cast to play Myrtle Wilson. Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki won the part of Jordan Baker, right after graduating from Victorian College of the Arts. When casting for the supporting role of Jordan, the filmmaker said that the character must be "as thoroughly examined as Daisy, for this production, for this time", adding, "It's like Olivier's Hamlet was the right Hamlet for his time. Who would Hamlet be today? Same with a Jordan or a Daisy". In June 2011, Jason Clarke was cast as George B. Wilson. Additionally, Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan makes a cameo appearance as Meyer Wolfsheim. The film is his maiden Hollywood film following a legendary career in Mumbai-based Hindi cinema.
The Great Gatsby was planned to be filmed in the New York City area where the novel is set, starting in June 2011. The director instead opted to have the principal photography happen in Sydney. Filming began on September 5, 2011, at Fox Studios Australia. The shoot finished on December 22, 2011, with additional shots filmed in January 2012.
In creating the background scenery for the world depicted in the film, designer Catherine Martin stated that the team styled the interior sets of Jay Gatsby's mansion with gilded opulence, in a style that blended establishment taste with Art Deco. The long-destroyed Beacon Towers, thought by scholars to have partially inspired Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby estate, was used as a main inspiration for Gatsby's home in the film. The filming for the exterior of Jay Gatsby's mansion was the college building of the International College of Management, Sydney, Some inspiration was also drawn from other Gold Coast mansions, including Oheka Castle and La Selva Mansion. Features evoking the Long Island mansions were added in post-production.
The inspiration for the film version of the Buchanan estate came from Old Westbury Gardens. The mansion exterior was built on a soundstage, with digital enhancements added. The interior sets for the Buchanan mansion were inspired by the style of Hollywood Regency.
The home of Nick Carraway was conceived as an intimate cottage, in contrast with the grandeur of the neighboring Gatsby mansion. Objects chosen adhered to a central theme of what the designers saw as classic Long Island. The architecture conjures American Arts and Crafts, with Gustav Stickley-type furnishings inside and an Adirondack-style swing out.
The first trailer for The Great Gatsby was released on May 22, 2012, almost a year before the film's release. Songs featured in various trailers include: "No Church in the Wild" by Jay-Z and Kanye West; a cover of U2's "Love Is Blindness" performed by Jack White; a cover of The Turtles' Happy Together by the band Filter; a cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" performed by André 3000 and Beyoncé; a song called "Young and Beautiful" performed by Lana Del Rey; and a song called "Over the Love" performed by Florence and the Machine.
On 15 April 2013, Brooks Brothers premiered "The Gatsby Collection", a line of men's clothing, shoes and accessories "inspired by the costumes designed by Catherine Martin for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby". According to Fashion Weekly, "The looks weren't simply based on 1920s style: the new duds were designed based on the brand's actual archives [...] Brooks Brothers was one of the initial arbiters of Gatsby-era look. The actual costumes, designed by Catherine Martin, will be on display in select Brooks Brothers boutiques."
On April 17, 2013, Tiffany & Co. unveiled windows at its Fifth Avenue flagship store "inspired by" Luhrmann's film and created in collaboration with Luhrmann and costumer Catherine Martin. The jewelry store also premiered "The Great Gatsby Collection" line of jewelry designed in anticipation of the film. The collection comprises 7 pieces: a brooch, a headpiece (both reportedly based on archival Tiffany designs), a necklace, and four different rings, including one in platinum with a 5.25-carat diamond, priced at $875,000.
The exterior of the Harrods department store in London bears film advertising as part of its window displays.
Released on May 7, the film's soundtrack is also available in a deluxe edition; a Target exclusive release also features three extra tracks. The film score was executive-produced by Jay-Z and The Bullitts.
Penned by Lana Del Rey and the film's director, Baz Luhrmann, the song "Young and Beautiful" was released to contemporary hit radio as a single, and is being used as the film's buzz single. A snippet of the track appeared in the official trailer for the film and played during the scene where the characters portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan express their romantic feelings for one another. Hip hop magazine Rap-Up called the single "haunting", while MTV called it "somber-sounding". The track performed by Florence and the Machine, "Over the Love", references the "green light" theme from the novel in its lyrics. Chris Payne of Billboard praised Beyoncé and André 3000's cover of "Back to Black", made unique with a downtempo EDM wobble.
Critical reception 
The Great Gatsby has received mixed reviews. As of 17 May 2013, the film has a 51% "Rotten" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10, based on 194 reviews. The general consensus was: "While certainly ambitious -- and every bit as visually dazzling as one might expect -- Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby emphasizes visual splendor at the expense of its source material's vibrant heart." The film currently has a score of 55 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews", based on 41 reviews by critics.
Among major critics, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal felt the elaborate production designs were a misfire and what was "intractably wrong with the film is that there's no reality to heighten; it's a spectacle in search of a soul." The Chicago Reader review felt "Luhrmann is exactly the wrong person to adapt such a delicately rendered story, and his 3D feature plays like a ghastly Roaring 20s blowout at a sorority house." The positive reviews included A. O. Scott of The New York Times, who felt the adaptation was "a lot of fun" and "less a conventional movie adaptation than a splashy, trashy opera, a wayward, lavishly theatrical celebration of the emotional and material extravagance that Fitzgerald surveyed with fascinated ambivalence"; Scott advised "the best way to enjoy the film "is to put aside whatever literary agenda you are tempted to bring with you." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe reserved special praise for Leonardo DiCaprio's performance, saying "magnificent is the only word to describe this performance — the best movie Gatsby by far, superhuman in his charm and connections, the host of revels beyond imagining, and at his heart an insecure fraud whose hopes are pinned to a woman."
See also 
Other film adaptations of The Great Gatsby include:
- The Great Gatsby (1926 film), a silent film starring Warner Baxter and Lois Wilson
- The Great Gatsby (1949 film), starring Alan Ladd and Betty Field
- The Great Gatsby (1974 film), starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow
- The Great Gatsby (2000 film), a TV film starring Toby Stephens and Mira Sorvino
- THE GREAT GATSBY | British Board of Film Classification
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- Official website
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- The Great Gatsby on Soundtrack Stream