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Scorsese and Luhrmann Go 3-D with Hugo Cabret, The Great Gatsby

by Anne Thompson
February 21, 2011 12:52 AM
3 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

Haven't the studios figured out yet that discerning audiences consider 3-D to be a negative? Warner Bros. got it when they returned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 to 2-D. Why downgrade a Tiffany property?

It makes sense to turn a digital or VFX-driven action film with broad appeal into a 3-D picture, such as an A-list animated film, Cameron's Avatar, Spielberg and Jackson's upcoming The Adventures of Tin Tin or Tron: Legacy. Now two studios are heading down this path with high-priced movies with adult appeal--with which they clearly seek to hedge their financial bets via 3-D. Now Baz Luhrmann is going 3-D with his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's New York novel The Great Gatsby, a talking heads drama if there ever was one. (Remember Jack Clayton's Robert Redford version? It was a gauzy stiff.) 3-D works best when it immerses audiences in an exotic visual world.

Nonetheless, Luhrmann, who took the grain of a good local idea and turned it into the over-inflated bomb Australia, will start shooting in Sydney in August for Warner Bros. Adapted for the screen by Luhrmann and his Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! co-writer Craig Pearce, Tobey Maguire reportedly will play narrator Nick Carraway to Leonardo DiCaprio's Jay Gatsby, while Carey Mulligan will be Daisy Buchanan. (DiCaprio handily won our poll on who should play Gatsby.)

And Paramount is releasing producer/financeer Graham King and director Martin Scorsese's first 3-D film, period mystery Hugo Cabret, in many countries worldwide, opening the film stateside on November 23. Hugo Cabret stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law and Emily Mortimer; the film is produced by GK Film's King, Scorsese, Tim Headington and Johnny Depp. John Logan, who landed an Oscar nom for Scorsese's The Aviator, adapted the Caldecott-winning novel by Brian Selznick about a smart kid who lives in a train station and chases after a mystery about his past with a feisty young girl.

What's happening is that filmmakers are trying to convince studios to back riskier films by offering to go 3-D, which brings premium ticket prices. (Studios beware: a friend of mine felt royally ripped off when she went to 3-D Gnomeo and Juliet). Am I the only one who has more confidence in Scorsese making this work than Luhrmann? I wish they'd both call off the 3-D squad, now.

[Photomontage courtesy of The Playlist.]

3 Comments

  • Mark | February 21, 2011 9:57 AMReply

    Only one director has gotten 3D right so far. Cameron. There will be three by the end of the year, Cameron, Spielberg and Scorsese. I can't wait to see what those two masters do with it. 3D is just a tool, like cinematography, sound, music... it's what you do with it that matters.

  • Rena Moretti | February 21, 2011 7:38 AMReply

    3D is just a gimmick. People think it works for films like Avatar because it's the first one they saw, and like at a carnival attraction it had entertainment value.

    The entertainment value is gone now. People don't have great depth perception and 3D is at best a slight add-on (close one eye and you'll see what I mean) and because of the reasons Walter Murch recently expounded (ie. your eyes focus on different points when they are watching real things, but have to stay focused on the same plane for a 3D movie, resulting in headaches and lack of real depth perception.

    3D is the perfect ingredient for the awful films the studios are producing today: they make films for teenagers who want something to do on Friday and Saturday night and consider that they'll go for the sideshow attraction since they look down on them. It's no wonder that Imax, the ultimate in sideshow is the leading chain of today's ever shrinking theatrical market.

    It's too bad because there are large audiences who don't get what they'd like from Hollywood and they're just dropping out of being interested in film (I am one of them, I find most new films coma-inducing and tune out everything having to do with Hollywood). That's the audience that enjoys films, as opposed to poorly scripted, acted and directed carnival attractions.

  • sasga | February 21, 2011 2:52 AMReply

    for a strange reason I think this could work in 3D

    Baz has always been great with the visuals and I can see him create quite a wonderful world in 3D.. even Australia and Moulin Rouge could have been fun in 3D

    but to be honest, I would rather not see any movie in 3D, it gives me a headache.. so as long as there's a 2D alternate I'm fine

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