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Baz Luhrmann's Despair, Drive and Gamble Behind 'The Great Gatsby'

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by Ryan Lattanzio
April 25, 2013 2:41 PM
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Baz Luhrmann

The making of "The Great Gatsby," the opening night film at Cannes, and the struggles and successes that Aussie director Baz Luhrmann faced during production are the subject of THR's latest cover story. It also features interviews with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.

"I would see anyone and do anything to make sure 'Gatsby' stayed alive," says Luhrmann, who wrought the big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel in 3-D. (It opens stateside May 10.) He describes some moments of the shoot as "a giant circus."

Luhrmann on his first meeting with Warner Bros.: 

For two hours, he bewitched them with a torrent of words explaining how he would mix old and new, blend hip-hop with sounds from the '20s and use 3D to make the movie modern -- all while showing clips he'd videotaped of Leonardo DiCaprio workshopping scenes. "I went into that room and thought, 'In this moment, I've got to tell this story like I've never told it before,' " he recalls.

On self-doubt:

This also is the man who occasionally questions his own work, no matter how much he might trumpet it in public: "I am always worried when someone says, 'This is perfect,' " he admits in a rare moment of introspection. "I have doubts; nothing is ever really good enough. Is it worthwhile? Is it of value?"

DiCaprio on working with Luhrmann:

"I was excited, but it is a daunting task to make an adaptation of any novel, let alone one woven into the fabric of America," says DiCaprio. His decades-long friendship with Luhrmann proved decisive. "Baz and I are able to be incredibly honest with each other. You try to do that with every director, but when you have a long friendship with him, you have the capacity to be incredibly direct. I wouldn't have felt so comfortable taking on this material if I didn't have a relationship like that."

Mulligan on being cast as Daisy:

"I only found out about it three days before the audition," recalls Mulligan, "so I read the book quickly for the first time and went to see him. It was unlike any audition I had done, in a loft in SoHo, reading with Leo, and there was a huge 3D camera, a handheld camera and people taking photographs -- really like a workshop for the scene."

Read the full story here. "The Great Gatsby" hits US theaters May 10 before opening Cannes on May 15 (trailer below).


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