Tag Archives: The Great Gatsby

Set Design Secrets from “The Great Gatsby”


Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is a sumptuous visual feast for the moviegoer this summer. With a $104 million dollar budget, Luhrmann and his wife, Oscar-winning set designer Catherine Martin, have created a visually unique movie. A daring mix of old and new, this interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel has created quite a buzz offering a new look at the Roaring Twenties. Continue reading

Before You See the Movie…Read the Book!


Our sister site, BSCkids, recently discussed the merits of reading the book first before watching some of this year’s most anticipated films including Warm Bodies, The Host, and Catching Fire. Here we discussed some of the more adult films coming out this year including The Hobbit and Gatsby. 

In general, film industry executives and production companies are more willing to finance movies that are based on books, since such projects automatically come with a built-in audience. 2013 proves to be no exception to this rule, as numerous page-to-screen adaptations, most of which are geared towards teenagers and young adults, are slated to premiere this year.

While it may be easier (and undoubtedly less time-consuming) to simply wait for the movies to open in a multiplex near you, you would be doing yourself a severe disservice and missing out on much of what makes these popular stories truly great. Cinema and literature are both art forms, and as such, are capable of expressing and conveying different aspects of the human condition. Film allows you to see fantastic worlds and iconic characters brought to life on screen, but it also presents a very narrow depiction of a story – by necessity, only one person’s vision can be immortalized on celluloid at any one time, and all too often, a director’s Sirius Black or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry looks nothing like the one you pictured in your mind the very first time you read a Harry Potter book. Where movies enable the audience to quite literally sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, literature encourages readers to become active participants in the story, rather than mere bystanders. With books, you never have to press pause in order to go back and re-analyze a particularly mysterious moment, and there is nothing stopping you from reading a favorite scene over and over, delighting in the clever dialogue and beautiful imagery on the page. Books also have no fixed length, unlike movies, most of which run around an hour and a half long, and can thus go into more detail, focusing on background characters and subtleties that truly bring the fictional world of the story to life. For all these reasons, children and teenagers who are excited about 2013’s upcoming movies should make the time to hit up their local bookstore or library before going to the movie theaters. Try reading one of the suggested books below before you watch the film version, and see for yourself how much richer the experience becomes!

The-Hobbit-Part-1The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, written by J.R.R. Tolkien, is a quick-read of a fantasy novel that chronicles the exploits of a wizard, a band of mischievous dwarves, and a little hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. The book, much lighter in tone and style than Tolkien’s master saga The Lord of the Rings, is relatively short (at least by Tolkien’s standards), with a page count of around 300 pages.Most readers will be able to finish the novel in less time than it takes them to watch one of Peter Jackson’s sprawling, three-hour-long epic adaptations on film. Young children will love the antics of the dwarves in The Hobbit and will identify with Bilbo, a fun-loving hobbit fond of food and creature comforts, while older readers will enjoy meeting the character of Gollum for the first time and analyzing the ways in which the events in the book lead up to and foreshadow the darker tale of The Lord of the Rings. The second film in director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit prequel trilogy, entitled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, opens on December 13, 2013.

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby appears on most high school required reading lists for a reason – although it was first published in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel remains one of the most searing, heartbreaking depictions of love, loss, and the deception of the American dream ever to appear in print. The Great Gatsby so fully transports readers back to 1922 Long Island that, for the duration of the book, you find yourself half-believing that you are physically in the middle of one of Jay Gatsby’s infamously extravagant parties, surrounded by the smell of illegally-obtained gin and the swinging blare of jazz horns. Although young children will not easily grasp the subject matter or antiquated language of the novel, teenagers and advanced readers will be raptly drawn into Fitzgerald’s lively portrayal of the Roaring Twenties, and will identify with the book’s themes of social stratification, shifting gender roles, obsession, and disillusionment, themes that are readily recognizable to a generation of young people inheriting a world facing economic collapse, an increased gap between those that have and those that do not, and a growing sense of disenchantment with the supposed American “dream” of material wealth and mass consumption that has been handed down to them. Director Baz Luhrmann’s movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby opens on May 10, 2013.

And in case you missed here:

catching-fireCatching Fire is the second book in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling Hunger Games trilogy, and should not be missed by anyone planning on viewing the film. The book goes into far more detail than will be possible to explore in the movie’s short time span, introducing not only the entire resistance movement dedicated to overthrowing the Capitol but also a variety of fascinating, extremely complex adult characters like Finnick Odair, Annie Cresta, and Johanna Mason, all previous Victors of the sadistic Hunger Games who are still struggling to deal with the ramifications of winning. The novel is full of intense action sequences tempered by pivotal, oftentimes touching interpersonal moments crucial to heroine Katniss Everdeen’s individual growth as well as her changing relationships with Peeta, Gale, her mother, her little sister Prim, and her stylist Cinna. Catching Fire, as a book, is able to dig into a Panem that is darker and more complicated than the one portrayed in the PG-13 film version, and older readers will be attracted to the gritty reality that appears below the polished surface of the glitzy Capitol. The film version, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, opens on November 22, 2013.

The Great Gatsby

‘The Great Gatsby’ To Finally Hit Theaters May 10, 2013

The Great Gatsby

The bad news is that director Baz Luhrmann’s take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, The Great Gatsby, won’t be releasing this year. The good news is, audiences don’t have to wait forever. You can hold your breath until May 10, 2013, right? Come on. It could be worse.

There is a good and bad side to this announcement, too. The good news here is Gatsby won’t have to compete with other December 2012 released films. A certain Hobbit comes to mind. When it comes to the one ring, the roaring 20s might not stand a fighting chance.

The bad side has a bit to do with Warner Brother’s box office track record. It seems quite a few failures released from the studio also in May. Among those are Speed Racer, House of Wax and, most recently, Dark Shadows. The past is prologue, but then again, no one can tell with these things. Marketing and star power can contribute to overall success. There are exceptions to every rule. Luhrmann’s own over the top rhapsody, Moulin Rouge! first premiered in May of 2001.

I think Gatsby is going to make a good chunk of change no matter when it debuts. I’ve been a great fan of the 1974 adaptation starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and re-watch it from time to time. That script has many lines in it pulled directly from the novel. Speaking of Mia Farrow, Luhrmann has given her iconic role of Daisy to Carey Mulligan. I think Mulligan looks the part. I can’t wait to see how she does. Mia Farrow has this incredible, breathless voice; however, and I’ll forever related it to Daisy–Daisy and the unicorn from the animated classic The Last Unicorn. Now that was the best voice acting casting ever!

Two other reasons Gatsby‘s May release shouldn’t pose a problem are its actors and its director. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are movie stars. They have loyal fans. They’ve also been best chums since forever, so it’ll be nice to watch them together. Baz Luhrmann also has a cult following. No other director would think to shoot a live action, historically set romance in 3D. In fact, he may be a little nuts. It’s a good kind of nuts, though.

Let’s check out some highlights from the official press release from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures concerning the updated release date. May 10 is the date Americans and Canadians need to mark on their calendars, but international audiences don’t need to sweat. They get the film one week after.

Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures, said,

Audiences have been looking forward to Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of one of the most beloved books of all time, and we felt this beautifully extravagant and dramatic film would be a perfect way for us to kick off our Summer slate.

Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, added,

Baz’s unique take on Gatsby is glitzy and glamorous, with his juxtaposition of the classic tale and contemporary themes hitting just the right note. This film should really add heat to the competitive Summer season.

Luhrmann writes, directs, and produces for the project.

Of course DiCaprio is Gatsby and Maguire is Nick Carraway, the point of view character who is a bit of a fish out of water as he joins rich New Yorkers in the spring of 1922, smack-dab in the time of jazz and excess. Gatsby is the richest and most mysterious and he takes an interest in Nick because Carraway is Daisy’s cousin. Daisy is the one who got away from Gatsby before he was the man he is today.

Joel Edgerton is Tom Buchanan, the man Daisy did marry. He’s got a bit of a mean streak. Isla Fisher will play Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, and Jason Clarke is George Wilson, Myrtle’s seemingly dim-witted mechanic husband. Elizabeth Debicki was cast as Jordan Baker, the love interest for Nick Carraway.

If you know Luhrmann’s films, you know he’s the king of spectacle. He re-teams with two-time Academy Award-winning production and costume designer Catherine Martin from Moulin Rouge! on the set of Gatsby. The music will come from Craig Armstrong.