Baz Luhrmann isn’t the only director meeting with top young actresses for a project. Much the way that Luhrmann has a top group of thesps he’ll read with to find Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, Crowe has a short list to play the female lead opposite Matt Damon in We Bought A Zoo, the Benjamin Mee memoir about an American who moves to England to operate a zoo. I’m hearing that the top contender is Scarlett Johansson, but that Amy Adams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rachel McAdams are also in the mix. Crowe and Aline Brosh McKenna wrote the script.
EXCLUSIVE: Director Baz Luhrmann is expanding his search for Daisy Buchanan as he moves closer to committing to The Great Gatsby as his next film. Deadline revealed recently that Luhrmann did a workshop of the screenplay he wrote with Craig Pearce, with Leonardo DiCaprio reading Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire reading Nick Carraway, and The Town‘s Rebecca Hall reading Daisy Buchanan. Luhrmann wants those guys to star, but he’s casting a wider net on Daisy. I’m told that Hall is in the running, but that he’s got a bunch of actresses and wants to see how they read with DiCaprio. Luhrmann likes to work shop his scripts, and this should play out over the next two weeks, in New York. This might be hard for some of the actresses, who are shooting movies abroad. Among the names I’ve heard on Baz’s list: Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Michelle Williams and Scarlett Johansson. Aside from those names, I’ve heard that Luhrmann is also sweet on Natalie Portman, the …
EXCLUSIVE: While Baz Luhrmann hasn’t settled on whether he’ll make The Great Gatsby his next film, he workshopped the adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel that he wrote with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce. I’m told that Leonardo DiCaprio read the role of Gatsby, Tobey Maguire read Nick Carraway, and that The Town star Rebecca Hall read the role of Daisy.
The picture is set up at Sony Pictures Entertainment and the reading went well, I’m told. Luhrmann workshops every script he’s considering and there’s no guarantee those actors will wind up starring in the film. Reports have mentioned Amanda Seyfried as a possible Daisy and I’ve heard Baz is sweet on Natalie Portman. Luhrmann and Catherine Martin are producing with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher.
The blogosphere was jumping late last week with a very speculative report that Baz Luhrmann had set Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Amanda Seyfried to play the leads in The Great Gatsby, a new adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Now let me tell you what’s real and what’s not: The truth is Luhrmann doesn’t know if he’ll do Gatsby next. He’s set up an original musical at Media Rights Capital that is also a candidate for his next directing slot. But Luhrmann does love DiCaprio after directing him in Romeo & Juliet and nearly getting to the starting line with him in an Alexander The Great film that got derailed because Oliver Stone got into production first with Colin Farrell. (And we know how that fared.) I’m told Baz has had a conversation with DiCaprio for the role of Jay Gatsby, played by Robert Redford in the 1974 film. This has been an obvious development, even mentioned by Deadline’s Nikki Finke when she broke the exclusive in late 2008 that Luhrmann was working on a new Gatsby.
The latest is that Leo hasn’t said yes. In fact, no offer has been made. Yes, Tobey Maguire is at the top of Luhrmann’s mind to do Nick Carraway, the narrator played by Sam Waterston in the 1974 bomb. Despite the speculation about Seyfried, I’m told that role is wide open in Luhrmann’s mind. Mia Farrow played the Daisy role in the 1974 film, and I found her so annoying that I couldn’t for a moment imagine why Redford’s Gatsby would have pined for her all those years.
Who doesn’t reimagine Fitzgerald’s enigmatic classic, so here are some casting suggestions for both a young and old interpretation. If Baz casts young, I’d like to see Chris Pine or Michael Pitt as Gatsby if Leo turns it down. We agree that Tobey would be a great Nick. Daisy is the key, but in the book she’s a much more manipulative and calculating socialite than the aging ingenue that Farrow portrayed last time around. Nikki likes Carey Mulligan for Daisy, but I’d go with Natalie Portman. Zachary Quinto has the edge with us to play Daisy’s dangerously jealous husband Tom because he has the sexual edge that Bruce Dern was missing. And Emma Stone or Michelle Monaghan could handle the sexpot Myrtle Wilson which Karen Black played in too ditzy fashion. Both actresses could bring an earthy knowingness to enhance the role. And I suggest Rachel McAdams as Jordan.