Thousands flocked to New York’s Lincoln Center this week to steal a glimpse of the stars of Baz Luhrmann’s latest film ‘The Great Gatsby’.
Leonardo DiCaprio was there to celebrate the sixth remake of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel for the silver screen and to eulogize the film’s director.
Working with Luhrmann for the second time following the success of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in 1996, the 38-year old actor was full of praise for the Australian’s methodology and attention to detail: “As much as Baz recreates these worlds and gives it a modern context, and in some respect, tries to connect with a younger generation, he’s always incredibly vigilant about the material and the nature of the material that he takes on. He’s an incredible risk taker in the sense that when I met him, when I was 18, it was an insane notion to set the Bard in an ulterior universe in his production of Romeo and Juliet but he pulled it off. It was groundbreaking for its time.”
Scored by Jay Z, the ‘The Great Gatsby’ is an iconic critique of wealth when, following the financial crash in 2008, the open flaunting of affluence continues to polarise public opinion across the world.
For Luhrmann, there are strong parallels with Fitzgerald’s take on the 1920’s recession: “I just wanted to treat it like Fitzgerald did when he set out to make something modern, something extraordinary, something beautiful, something simple and intricately patterned. I just thought it has to be done and when the crash came in 2008, because Fitzgerald predicted a crash, I thought it’s got to be done. I happened to be in a position where I had to get the green light, and I mean the green light for the money.”
Set to open the Cannes Film Festival later this month, ‘The Great Gatsby’ openly revels in gargantuan displays of glitz and glamour, but simultaneously asks whether our homage to capital and social status is a positive thing for society.
Against a background of European bailouts, it also asks: have we learned our lesson about whether greed is good?