We caught up with the awesome Baz Luhrmann today, who is currently in Sydney, Australia working on his upcoming F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation The Great Gatsby, as well as a stage production of his directorial debut Strictly Ballroom. Which has recently been remastered for DVD and is now available in stores everywhere. While talking to him about this new special edition release, we also managed to get him to open up about his plans for The Great Gatsby, as well as an untitled musical that he is currently working on.
Here is our conversation:
We haven't heard too much abut the Great Gatsby yet. Is this film going to be a musical? Will it incorporate music and dance into the classic tale, or will it be more of an epic along the lines of Australia?
Baz Luhrmann: I can't comment on it at this moment. Because the truth is, all I am doing right now besides working on the script is casting. I am right in the middle of casting. I am really thrilled, genuinely thrilled about Carey Mulligan. I am working on casting Jordan. I am being a little sheepish about saying, one hundred percent, that it is my next film. Because I am also working on a cinematic musical. I like to make sure everything is in place before I say, "Yup, I am doing it." Because I went through that, and had a difficult time with Alexander. I want to be cautious, and not say much before I have it all in place. I will say this, I am really loving so much working on F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have been working on it for years. I worked on it even before than. I can't comment on that itself, but the story has its own music in it. Fitzgerald wrote music...It won't be a musical, but Fitzgerald wrote music into the book. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there is dancing in the book. Whatever fundamentals are in the book, that will be in the film.
I would imagine that, when you are talking about the music and the dancing that is in the book, when you incorporate that into the story you are going to tell, it is going to come with your trademark energy and enthusiasm. It's not just going to be old, musty classical music.
Baz Luhrmann: Look, naturally, if you are doing a good job, one's spirit has got to be in it. But the style of this film will be specific to this film alone. I know that. I am literally drawing it from Fitzgerald's text. So it's very interesting. I really, honestly, don't know where it will end up. One of the things I am looking at doing, after looking at a lot of the references books is, I am just going to put those things on the internet for anyone who is interested. They can come on the journey. I am really intrigued about audiences coming on this journey with us. It should be revealed from the process. You are absolutely right. I will never be able to take myself out of it, because I am the storyteller. I am in charge of telling it. The exciting thing is: I don't know! I don't know what the cinematic style will end up looking like at this point.
Are Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire for sure going to be in the movie if you move forward with this? Or is that just speculation at this point?
Baz Luhrmann: I have certainly done the most thrilling workshops with them in New York recently, and they have been really thrilling. I couldn't think of anyone else in those roles at the moment.
I want to know more about this musical that you are also working on. With Australia having come after Moulin Rouge, it's been a while since you've done a straight up musical, and that prospect is exciting to me...
Baz Luhrmann: I went through that thing on Alexander. The moment I mentioned it, a whole lot of other projects can popping up. But, without being too coy about it, it is a New York based musical work. That is about as far as I can go. There is more to say about it, but once I put it out there, I better have a clear ability to tell it. And I am not there yet. It is my homework on the weekends.
Will it be along the lines of Moulin Rouge where you bring in the contemporary pop songs, and mix that with some more classical works of music?
Baz Luhrmann: The musical language is inherent in the piece. I have been teasing now, but I really can't go into it. Because I am just not ready to talk about it. But when I am ready, you put your hand up, and we'll have a big chat about it. It's a very exciting piece of work. I am really excited about it.