the beautiful and the damned
zelda and scott
look to the originals-
(not the movie)
F.Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald, Carey Mulligan PHOTO CREDIT: Carey Mulligan photographed auditioning for the role of Daisy Buchanan. New York City, November 2, 2010. Photo: Baz Luhrmann. Copyright: Bazmark
ZELDA by illustrator Harrison Fisher, Carey Mulligan at l.
Zelda, l. , Carey Mulligan r.
Since Baz Luhrmann acquired the rights to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in 2008, speculation has been keen about the actress who would play Daisy Buchanan. No more-British actress Carey Mulligan will play Daisy Buchanan in Luhrmann's " in the works" Gatsby. The young and talented actress was on the reception line at The Fashion Council Awards in New York when Baz Luhrmann called to give her the news. When asked about the call, 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."
Mulligan is joining Leo DiCaprio who will play Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire is set to play Nick Carraway. DiCaprio has worked with Luhrmann before- starring in his 1996 critically acclaimed modern day version of Romeo and Juliet.
Scott Fitzgerald by Harrison Fisher, Leo DiCaprio l.
FSF l., DiCaprio, r.
Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby in the 1974 version
If you didn't see the 1974 Hollywood version of the movie. Interestingly the movie went through a series of hands before it reached its final cut- directors, actors, screenwriters. Ali MacGraw as Daisy? Robert Evans to direct? Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson as Gatsby ? Truman Capote started writing the script- supposedly his draft included making Nick- a homosexual and Jordan Baker- a vindictive lesbian. Capote was out and Francis Ford Coppola stepped in to finish the script, nixing Nick and Jordan's sexual preferences. As an aside, Nick and Jordan, played by Same Waterston and Lois Chiles, turn out to be two of the more interesting characters drawn in the script- though there attraction to one another seems to be a bit -lack luster. Sadly, respected critics of the era and those looking back today see the film as a spectacular show with little of the complexity of Scott Fitzgerald's novel.
It brings the 1920's to life, but it does little to delve into the psyche of Gatsby's characters.
Mia Farrow as Daisy and RR as Jay Gatsby
The final movie was brilliantly marketed, but it was all style and no substance. The film grossed $20.6 million in the U.S., roughly $85.6 million in today’s dollars, which was better than the paltry $2 million grossed by “The Last Tycoon.” But it was like a rich souffle that lacked flavor and didn’t quite rise to expectations. Peter Bart Vice President & Editorial Director Vincent Canby wrote in the NYTimes, 1974 review, "the movie itself is as lifeless as a body that's been too long at the bottom of a swimming pool."(read the 1974 review here)
Mia Farrow- as Daisy Buchanan landed on PEOPLE Weekly's first issue.
Scott Fitzgerald , novelist, no Hollywood hack, did work as a scriptwriter in the 1930's due to ongoing financial woes. He considered the work demeaning and must have known the complexity of his novels would challenge film makers for years in the future. Many experts think Fitzgerald can never successfully translate to film.
So where does Luhrmann go?
Oheka Castle in Long Island was a partial inspiration for Fitzgerald's Gatsby estate
He couldn't do better than the likes of the locations from the 1974 movie: Rosecliff Mansion, Marble House-Newport, Rhode Island, Hammersmith Farm, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Heatherden Hall in Buckinghamshire, England (see a full list here)
Luhrmann is an Aussie -& likes to do it all: director, producer, screenwriter. Luhrmann's past movie successes have featured Craig Pearce as screenwriter- solo and in collaboration with Luhrmann. Since Scott Fitzgerald left brilliant dialog - Luhrmann should go from there.
all quotes from Gatsby
"the girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs.”
gouache by Francis Cugat
Fitzgerald selected Cugat personally for the Gatsby cover art
Fitzgerald selected Cugat personally for the Gatsby cover art
"Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans."
all paintings by Zelda Fitzgerald
"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment."
"He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself."
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."
Luhrmann's phenomenal success with the muscial Moulin Rouge could be a consideration.
What about a musical?
Scott Fitzgerald wrote amateur musical comedies while studying at Princeton, later he remarked perhaps he should have continued doing so-but concluded "I am too much a moralist at heart, and really want to preach at people in some acceptable form, rather than entertain them.
Simply put, Trust the author on this one.
The 1974 film won two Oscars--not surprisingly for costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge. Luhrmann's wife Catherine Martin will certainly handle costuming. She has won Oscars in costuming his past films Moulin Rouge and Australia. Would that she decide to consult fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier to create the movie's costumes. Atmospherics, Color and Beauty all should be considered. It was the Jazz Age ( a term Fitzgerald is said to have coined) after all. Style mattered in the 20's.
Costumes by Gaultier
Jean Paul Gaultier 2008 Spring Collection images from Style.com
To create the overall visual appearance of the movie-again Catherine Martin takes on Production for Luhrmann's films.
Hire a professional- a designer brilliant with period details and has a flair for the theatrical. None other than British designer Nicky Haslam.
A quick look at a few of his sketches and portfolio would convince Martin.
all images from NH Designs here
1st image- Tom and Daisy's salon, perhaps,
2nd image- Nick's cottage
& from the author, finally take this to heart
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Scott and Zelda traveled many miles-yet they could never escape themselves.