MOTW: Baz Luhrmann and "The Great Gatsby"

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
May 6th, 2013

MOTW: Baz Luhrmann and "The Great Gatsby"

Baz Luhrmann is a world-renowned filmmaker whose latest production is the upcoming remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, "The Great Gatsby." Luhrmann is known for his grand filmography and artistic style, talents that fans of the novel believe will come to the fore in this remake. While "The Great Gatsby" has several movie predecessors, this latest incarnation of the iconic story promises to be the most lavish yet.

"The Great Gatsby" stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the film's titular character, Jay Gatsby. Carey Mulligan, a young and fresh-faced British actress, plays Daisy, his love interest. Tobey Maguire takes the role of Nick Carraway, the film's leading man and narrator of the story. Nick is a young stockbroker eagerly making his way to the top of the new money scene in the 1920s' New York, a time and place where the concept of less is more never caught on. The burgeoning class of the newly elite is a decadent and cutthroat one, as Nick soon learns when he is invited to a legendary party thrown by the infamous Gatsby himself.

As the film progresses, Nick learns that he is embroiled in an elaborate game between Daisy and Gatsby in which the two star-crossed lovers attempt to recreate what could have been between them. Nick is thrown headfirst into a world of scandal and lavishness, surrounded by witty banter, charming women, and gorgeous scenery.

Luhrmann is known for bringing an artistic and modern twist to films that are based on classic stories. He produced "Romeo & Juliet," the scandalous 1996 tribute to Shakespeare's masterly work. The film was famous not only for its steamy on-screen romance between the two titular characters, but for a lavish interpretation of Shakespeare's world. "Moulin Rouge!" is another Luhrmann film that is acclaimed for its luxurious scenery, lively music, and eye-catching costumes.

Visuals are one of the most important parts of Luhrmann's production process. The filmmaker admits that his growing up as the child of a ballroom dancer inspired his love for striking visuals and powerful, emotional music. Each of his films reflects this artistic sense and "The Great Gatsby" promises to have all the grandeur and style that fans of Luhrmann's films have come to expect from him. The novel is known for its description of style and music in the 1920s, and many readers and literary critics heralded it as one of the most descriptive novels of its time.

Other sources of inspiration that Luhrmann cites as essential to his filmmaking process include the lavish and over-the-top worlds of Italian opera and Bollywood. Italian opera is known for its flamboyance both visually and vocally, and opera singers are always decked out in the most luxurious fabrics and dramatic colors that help to create engaging characters. Bollywood is also famous for its use of vivid colors and elaborate song and dance numbers that tell a dramatic and often humorous story.

Another essential part of Luhrmann's production process is technology. The filmmaker has even partnered with popular technology brand, Samsung, in an effort to blend artistry with technology. His inspirational process is largely aided by modern technology and the ability to rapidly share moving images and music. This is an important aspect of filmmaking, and it allows Luhrmann to easily communicate with the creative community across the world and to effectively and efficiently get across his vision.

Like any good filmmaker, Luhrmann also places a heavy emphasis on story. As a screenwriter, his ability to understand the written word makes him the perfect match to reinvent such a beloved and iconic written work as "The Great Gatsby." To successfully translate this novel onto the screen, a director must understand which elements of the story are crucial and which would detract from the viewing experience. Luhrmann has proven that he is more than capable in this field with his past films, so fans of "The Great Gatsby" can rest easy knowing their beloved characters are in good hands.

"The Great Gatsby" promises to be a lavish affair fit for the acquired tastes of its titular character. With Luhrmann's artistic flair and extravagant visual style, the roaring 20s are set to come alive as they never have before.