Director Baz Luhrmann and producer Catherine Martin talked with THR about The Great Gatsby’s opening night spot. The Oscar-nominated director also shared what F. Scott Fitzgeralds’ granddaughter said she thought about the movie. Luhrmann said Fitzgerald himself was “incredibly modernist, he took African American street music and put it in there and everyone said, ‘why you doing that jazz it’s a fad?’. So we copied that and put popular music.
The film has divided the critics, who have either praised it for its exuberant, operatic, roaring approach to its material – or derided as a crass, tin-eared rendering of F Scott Fitzgerald’s precisely tuned text. But, as The Great Gatsby opened the 66th Cannes film festival, its director and co-adaptor, Baz Luhrmann, defended the film, saying that his chief concern was the healthy box office.
Craig Pearce, co-writer said about Fitzgerald’s novel: “It had a resonance today that was so strong in terms of what it was saying about the financial climate and the global financial crisis, and incredibly Scott Fitzgerald predicted this with a [car] crash, symbolic of a greater crash which had not yet happened but was about to.” The 1929 Wall Street Crash came just four years after the novel’s publication.
Luhrmann paid tribute to the Fitzgerald scholars, including Professor James West of Penn State University, who had “kept us in check” in adapting a “sacred text”