Cameras are expected to roll at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney in August on Baz Luhrmann’s big screen adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s American literary classic The Great Gatsby for Warner Bros.
Set in the roaring twenties in Long Island and New York, it will be Luhrmann’s fifth film and his second to star Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo+Juliet), who will play the title role of Jay Gatsby. Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy Buchanan, the subject of Gatsby’s obsession, and Tobey Maguire the narrator Nick Carraway, who is pulled into the world of wealth, parties and adultery.
The script, written by Luhrmann and regular collaborator Craig Pearce, will be filmed in 3D over 17 weeks, with post-production expected to continue for another 30 weeks.
Those producing for Bazmark Films include Luhrmann, his wife and key collaborator, Oscar winner Catherine Martin, who will also be handling production and costume design, Catherine Knapman and G Mac Brown, who was on board for Luhrmann’s most recent film, Australia. Husband-and-wife producing team Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are understood to also be on board the period drama.
There has been no official announcement about the film from Warner Bros, which has replaced the original backer, Sony Pictures. Rather, it took an election to flush out someone prepared to say the film is going ahead.
New South Wales goes to the polls on March 26 and the Premier Kristina Keneally announced The Great Gatsby was definitely going ahead while out on the hustings. She says the film will pump more than US$120m into her state’s economy, and employ an estimated 275 crew once pre-production starts in March, rising to more than 400 cast and crew during principal photography, with a further 150 people engaged in post-production and visual effects.
“This comes at a good time for the film industry,” said Keneally, who is expected to lose to the Liberal Party. “Australia was thought to be losing international filmmaking due to the strong Aussie dollar. Put simply, this is a big win.”
Despite Luhrmann being based in Sydney, many assumed this story would be filmed in the US. Undoubtedly it was cold hard cash — last year the NSW Government put aside an extra US$20m to attract large-scale production — and the 40% producer offset available to Australian films, that drove the decision to make the film in Australia.