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Baz Luhrmann Tells Deadline: Carey Mulligan Is My Daisy Buchanan

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has found his Daisy Buchanan. He has officially given the starring role in The Great Gatsby to Carey Mulligan, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Never Let Me Go star who’ll play the manipulative heroine when Luhrmann starts production on his adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic.

Mulligan was on the reception line for The Fashion Council Awards in New York when she got the call on her cell phone from Luhrmann, just a few minutes ago. She burst into tears on the red carpet in front of Karl Lagerfield and Anna Wintour. This all occurred shortly after Luhrmann showed the audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment execs Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, who were impressed by Mulligan’s command of the character played in the 1974 film by Mia Farrow.

Mulligan was a late entrant to an elite list of actresses that Luhrmann met with while he conducted readings with Leonardo DiCaprio, who’ll play Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire is expected to play his friend, Nick Carraway, who narrates the tale. No word yet on who’ll play the other major roles, Daisy’s husband Tom, their social companion Jordan Baker, Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson and her gas station owner husband George.

Luhrmann delivered the message to Deadline, and gave me the above photo he took of Mulligan during rehearsals, when she was in Daisy Buchanan mode on … Read More »

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Baz Casting Wider Daisy Net For ‘Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

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 … Read More »

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Would Leo DiCaprio Make A Good Gatsby? What’s Real And Not About Baz’s Next…

Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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