Baz Luhrmann

Elvis Presley biopic

There’s a whole lotta (head) shakin’ going on and, no, said shakin’ is not come care of that terrible Elvis pun, because the shakin’ predates the pun. So there. The Wrap is reporting that the King himself, Elvis Presley, might be getting a shiny new biopic, care of two people who have so far proven themselves ill-equipped to translate historical events to the big screen in a clear, concise and inspired manner. The outlet shares the news that Saving Mr. Banks scribe (and also 50 Shades of Grey adapter, please her heart) Kelly Marcel is penning a new biopic about the king’s life for the big screen. As of now, it’s “unclear which periods of Presley’s life would be depicted in the film,” but the script is described as an original take on his life. (Curiously, the outlet calls the currently-untitled film a biopic before stating that it’s “believed to be a biopic” later in their same piece. Shrug.) And although the king of rock n’ roll doesn’t have a bitter-faced British author to drive his narrative, he does have something that could be compelling the film’s possible director – a metric ton of sparkles.

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Baz

Back in 1961, Stanley Kubrick dreamed of making a sprawling epic about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, a film that has now been dubbed “the greatest movie never made.” Despite this glowing promise of greatness, none of the major studios took him up on his idea, and without funding, the project remained on the shelf. Now, Kubrick’s pet project is becoming reality as a high-profile miniseries at HBO with Steven Spielberg adopting the endeavor as producer — and they’ve tapped Baz Luhrmann to direct. Kubrick’s vision for the story of the French dictator was left behind in the form of extensive research files, including location photos, notes, boxes upon boxes of details — enough for a book to be written about everything he compiled while writing the screenplay; he really wanted to make this film. But at the time, the biopic was deemed too expensive by studios and he went on to make Barry Lyndon (set 15 years prior to the Napoleonic Wars) instead — not such a shabby alternative. But it’s not certain if the new team will have access to Kubrick’s files to use for the series, or if they’ll even be mimicking his same vision when it comes to translating the film to television. If Luhrmann does direct, it’s no secret that his take on Kubrick’s screenplay would differ greatly from the late director’s original vision.

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Gatsby Music

  Director Baz Luhrmann is known for his grand, stylized aesthetic, but he is also known for his keen ability to place contemporary music into classic stories or those set in decades past. Whether updating the world of Romeo + Juliet from fair Verona to Verona Beach or having the leads in a musical set in 1899 sing songs like Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and The Police’s “Roxanne,” Luhrmann always gives these musical choices a purpose whether he is bringing a well-known play into present day or infusing renewed life into the 1900s. The fact that these modern music placements actually work within these different contexts proves music really is the universal language and reminds audiences that even though these stories may not be from present day, they are certainly not dated. Luhrmann is a master at taking these stories, no matter when they were written or set, and making them feel fun, vibrant, and relevant.

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The Great Gatsby

Five years since Baz Luhrmann‘s first certifiable flop, Australia, the flamboyant director returns for unarguably his most ambitious and anticipated effort yet, a pulse-pounding take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s esteemed novel, The Great Gatsby (most famously adapted previously with Robert Redford in the starring role). Though this attempt boasts all of the coveted Luhrmann hallmarks, it misses the mark precisely because it indulges those very flourishes in the most sickly, overblown fashion possible. When we first meet Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), he’s a crestfallen alcoholic, clearly shaken by events he’s experienced. To recount his story, Carraway takes us back to his first encounters with enigmatic neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), who throws luxurious parties while mystique continues to grow surrounding both his identity and his sizable wealth. Meanwhile, Carraway’s decision to re-introduce Gatsby to a former flame, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) foreshadows dangerous consequences for all involved.

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“It’s like an amusement park!” a starry-eyed Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) announces without a trace of irony upon taking in the staggering excess of his first Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio, turning in yet another stellar performance) party, a dizzying and defiant spectacle set in the sprawling mansion that just so happens to be right next door to Carraway’s own rented shack. For a time, Carraway is correct – Baz Luhrmann’s take on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is very much like an amusement park, colorful and loud and fake and relentlessly entertaining. But as the madness (chemical and otherwise) of the story burns out, so too does Luhrmann’s trademark style, and the result is a most unexpected one, as the over-the-top pageantry of The Great Gatsby crumbles into an uninspired, flaccid adaptation that manages to deflate an enduring love story of even the most basic of human emotions. Distilled down, the love story of The Great Gatsby is about a (mostly charming) criminal, liar, and fraud who is obsessed with gathering wealth and notoriety to win back the affection of a former lover who is apparently only interested in wealth and notoriety. It’s really not the sort of love story that can be deemed “satisfying” or “relatable,” but Luhrmann and his cast attempt mightily to get audiences to care about the secretive Jay Gatsby and the duplicitous Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan’s dreamy Daisy, while effective at first, is ultimately too sweet for the part). Along the way, Maguire goes […]

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While it appears that this very cool The Great Gatsby character map by graphic designer Something So Sam has been floating around on the ol’ Tumblrs for a few months, our friends over at The Playlist just found and posted it today, and we’re more than happy to pass along this nifty character map that those of you who have totally forgotten your high school English reading list (read: most of us) can peruse before Baz Luhrmann‘s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel finally hits screens. Also, yes, this certainly contains spoilers, but Fitzgerald’s novel is only considered to be The Great American Novel and it has been in publication for over eighty years, so… The Great Gatsby opens on May 10th.

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Gangster Squad Reshoots

The trailer for Gangster Squad brought us right into the world of 1940′s Los Angeles, where gangsters ruled the city under the unflinching thumb of Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) as ominous undertones vibrated against the sounds of punches and gunshots. This is a Los Angeles where crime and punishment rule rather than glitz and glamour, and the clothes, the hair, the makeup, the cars, and the guns alone let us know we are in a different time. But then a commanding female singer’s vocals cut through the chaos telling us to “get low,” while a hip-hop beat started to drive the action. This 1940′s world suddenly got a jolt of good ol’ contemporary R&B as Mr. HOV himself, Jay-Z, breaks in with his track “Oh My God.” His lyrics may be from a song released in 2006, but they do not feel out of place here saying: “A journey seldom seen / The American dream.” Gangster movies are appealing because they give audiences a glimpse into that dangerous world and Mickey Cohen has clearly convinced himself that what he is doing is simply living the American dream his way. Unfortunately this unique pairing of modern music with a period story exists solely in the trailer, while the film instead opts for an exclusively 1940′s feel. With a soundtrack full of songs from artists of that time such as Pee Wee King, Big Jay McNeely, and Peggy Lee it is this idea of taking itself too seriously that seems to be Gangster Squad’s inevitable downfall. Hoping to be a […]

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Jay-Z

At what point can we start calling Baz Luhrmann a troll instead of a filmmaker? If Australia – the flabby apotheosis of a supposedly beloved country — doesn’t count, then maybe having Jay-Z score an adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” does. According to collaborator The Bullitts’ twitter feed (via HitFix), “Jay-Z and myself have been working tirelessly on the score for the upcoming #CLASSIC The Great Gatsby! It is too DOPE for words!”

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The Great Gatsby

If there’s one thing our culture never gets tired of, it’s tabloid news. Taking a promising young pretty person, anointing them with almost mythic stature, and then feasting on their misery like psychic vampires when they eventually succumb to scandal and fall from grace…that’s the name of the game! Seeing as the new trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby sticks pretty closely to this formula, and presents things with the flashy, kinetic visual style that the director has become famous for, chances are it’s going to do a good job of selling this story to a wider audience than was willing to read Fitzgerald’s novel in their high school English class. When it was first announced that Luhrmann was going to be tackling material as generally dry as Gatsby, and filming it in 3D no less, the entire notion seemed kind of absurd. But after watching this trailer, it starts to make a bit of sense. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is getting what he wants by entering and mastering a world of artifice. The main drama in the story is generally concerned with who’s sleeping with who. Plus, this is a period piece that affords its director the opportunity to stage several lavish parties. All of that isn’t too far off from what Luhrmann has already done with Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!

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How awkward that the first piece of marketing for Baz Luhrmann‘s still-ludicrously-3D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s most famous work to strike any sort of literary chord is this brand new batch of character posters for The Great Gatsby.Featuring the film’s six principle stars (that’s Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker), each crisply-designed poster features a quote from the novel about their respective characters. What an idea! Using text to illuminate a new adaptation of a text. Drop the 3D, Baz, this stuff is what looks good. After the break, brush up on your high school lit, and meet Daisy, Nick, Jordan, Tom, and Myrtle.

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Well, have you seen Moulin Rouge? In some of the least surprising news of possibly the entire decade, The Playlist has dug up news that Baz Luhrmann‘s plagued The Great Gatsby won’t just come with the added gimmick of 3D, but possibly with a Prince and Lady Gaga-heavy soundtrack. You know what, Baz? That’s fine. It’s really fine. It’s certainly better than using 3D to tell the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald story. It’s at least much more predictable. The outlet sat down with Adelaide Clemens (who co-stars in Luhrmann’s film), and she revealed the news, saying that “they have some new music that’s going to be added to the film…Some pretty huge artists have approached Baz and are writing songs for the film, and I don’t think Warner Bros. are going to turn down Prince and Lady Gaga knocking down your door.” Somewhat charmingly, The Playlist pressed her for more confirmation on said artists, and “she confirmed she was referring to the Prince and the Lady Gaga, demurring, ‘I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that.’” Thank goodness Prince has returned to his classic stage name, just imagine how confusing this would be if poor Clemens was trying to convey that (insert symbol here) might be doing some work on the soundtrack.

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Let it never be said that Hollywood is not creative – at least when it comes to changing up things like, oh, the seasons. The summer movie season has progressively gotten longer and longer, kicking off when we’re still technically in the spring months, and then encroaching on September (which is autumn, because it’s back-to-school time, okay?). Now, Warner Bros. has officially decided that the month of May is summer (“early summer,” but “summer” nonetheless) in a press release announcing the “early summer” (read: May) release date for Baz Luhrmann‘s The Great Gatsby. The potentially troubled film, once slated for a glitzy Christmas release, was pushed away from the holiday season last month, with a promise that a new release date would be set soon. WB has announced today (via ComingSoon) that The Great Gatsby (still inexplicably in 3D) will open in North America on May 10, 2013, with international release following a week later. As ComingSoon notes, a second-week-of-May release date isn’t usually a good thing. Recent releases saddled with such a date include Speed Racer, Poseidon, House of Wax, and Dark Shadows (yeesh!), but CS’s own Ed Douglas also points out that some Best Picture nominee heavy hitters also opened on a similar date – titles like Gladiator and Crash. Luhrmann himself is no stranger to the date – his Moulin Rouge! opened in limited release in mid-May as well.

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Jason Clarke in Lawless

Lawless features some towering performances. Tom Hardy commands with every grunt, Guy Pearce snarls in every scene, and Gary Oldman gives a quietly vicious performance. Then there’s Jason Clarke, playing the oldest of the three Bondurant brothers, Howard. He’s the brute of the group, the unhinged ox who’s seen a mass-scale violence, and he has clearly been affected by it. Clarke, like Hardy and his grunts, walks through the film with a lumbering physicality, as if he’s not even in much control over his own violent tendencies. That physicality is a factor Clarke put a lot of thought into, from using a smaller heel on his boot to wearing weights on his ankles. It’s that sort of commitment which seems to have earned the actor gigs with the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Kathryn Bigelow, John Hillcoat, and the two peas in the pod, Roland Emmerich and Terrence Malick. The actor was kind enough to take time off from walking around the White House for Emmerich to discuss his love for research, finding a character, and how you should never be afraid to go big.

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The trailer for Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby was all kinds of flashy and promising, so when the news of the film’s Christmas release getting scrapped broke, it seemed as if the Oscar contender wasn’t exactly the awards picture everyone was making it out to be. Warner Bros. stated the release shift was only a matter of reaching the biggest audience possible, but if they really felt that confident in their 3D Luhrmann Fest, it’s doubtful the film would’ve had a difficult time reaching a broad audience come Christmas. Now, we’ve received news which raises questions over whether Warners was one hundred percent truthful with their reasoning. Luhrmann is currently seeking outside funds to “complete” the film, with Warner Bros. unwilling to sink any more cash into the $127m project. Luhrmann is attempting to privately raise funds for both additional reshoots and to polish the film’s substantial amount of effects.

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While we’ve made little to no bones about our questioning of why the hell Baz Luhrmann decided that his take on The Great Gatsby needed to be in 3D (Nathan has called it “absolutely ridiculous,” I’ve said that I “still see no earthly reason” why the film will have a third dimension), that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to see this big, glittery pouf-ball of an American classic. However, it looks like we’ll have to hold our horses for a few more months, as Warner Bros. has just announced that they are moving Gatsby off of its Christmas release date into the vague timeframe of “Summer 2013.” In regards to this decision, Warner Bros. President of Domestic Distribution, Dan Fellman, commented: “Based on what we’ve seen, Baz Luhrmann’s incredible work is all we anticipated and so much more…We think moviegoers of all ages are going to embrace it, and it makes sense to ensure this unique film reaches the largest audience possible.” Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, Warner Bros.’ President of International Distribution, echoed that audience-reaching sentiment by saying, “The responses we’ve had to some of the early sneak peeks have been phenomenal, and we think The Great Gatsby will be the perfect summer movie around the world.” Uh huh.

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Forgive me if you disagree, but I can still see no earthly reason why Baz Luhrmann thinks that his take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby needs to be in 3D. And while the film’s first trailer should change that, should remove doubts about that pesky extra dimension, this one simply doesn’t. It’s classic Luhrmann in this new look – the energy, the colors, the splash, the spectacle, even the modern music over a classic story (cue Jay-Z and Kanye West) – and that should be enough to put the film in front of fresh eyes, but clearly the filmmaker doesn’t think so. Unfortunately, the effect of 3D made flat (and for computer viewing) means that all those big, clearly show-stopping shots come across with an air of fraudulence. It just doesn’t look real, even for Luhrmann and his trademark style. It’s also fairly obvious from this trailer alone the sort of shots Luhrmann will linger on to make the best use of his 3D – falling confetti, the swirl of a falling shirt, the curl of cigarette smoke, the swing of a polo mallet, and that’s all well and good, but it still feels remarkably pointless. Perhaps his cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton, will breathe some life into the circus. Remember that real life is in 3D and love is blindness, and watch the first trailer for The Great Gatsby after the break.

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Kees van Dijkhuizen’s work is kinda great. While most fan edited montages of films you see online feel stilted and blandly cut together, Dijkhuizen’s don’t. Just watch the “this year in film” tribute videos he cut together for 2008 and 2009. They’re excellent. And for the past few months he’s been releasing love letters to some of the most praised directors working today. Dijkhuizen has covered David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Danny Boyle, Wes Anderson, Baz Luhrmann, and now with his best one yet, Michel Gondry. They’re all worth a watch, especially since they’re all directors known first and foremost for their style. Side note: This video is also a nice reminder that The Green Hornet is better than it’s given credit for. I’ll take Gondry’s anti-superhero pic any day over Green Lantern and — yes, I’m going to say it – Thor.

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Heat Vision is reporting that Baz Luhrmann’s film version of The Great Gatsby is one step closer to filling out its principle cast. Most of the main roles have already been grabbed up at this point, and by actors that fit the bill pretty nicely; but this latest news gives me pause. Reportedly Isla Fisher is in negotiations to join the cast as Myrtle Wilson. Leonardo DiCaprio is playing the charming and mysterious Gatsby, which makes sense because of DiCaprio’s leading man looks. Tobey Maguire is playing the film’s everyman narrator Nick Carraway, which makes sense because everyone already thinks of him as the ultimate everyman Peter Parker. Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy Buchanan, which makes sense because Mulligan can do anything, and being a rich white girl is probably something she can pull of in her sleep. Ben Affleck was playing Tom Buchanan, which made sense because Buchanan is a jerk that cheats on his wife and slaps ladies around and, love him or hate him, you have to admit Affleck naturally projects a bit of that doucher vibe that would fit the character perfectly. However, Deadline East Egg is reporting that Affleck has been locked to direct and star in Argo, and won’t be available for Gatsby. And now Isla Fischer is playing Myrtle Wilson, the frumpy, plain, wife of a mechanic, which makes sense because, uh… I got nothing. I sure like looking at Isla Fischer though, so good news all around!

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There aren’t many things that we know for sure about Baz Luhrman’s upcoming adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” The man won’t even admit in a straightforward way that he is making the movie. There have been rumors that it would be in 3D, but who can say? The one thing that has seemed to be locked in pretty securely, however, has been the cast. Leonardo Dicaprio has always been set to play the title character Jay Gatsby. Carey Mulligan seems to be locked into playing the lead female role of Daisy Buchanan. And Tobey Maguire is reportedly on board to play the story’s observer and narrator Nick Carraway. Well now one more actor is in talks to join Luhrmann’s sure to be gaudy retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of big mansions and romantic revenge, Armageddon’s Ben Affleck. Reportedly, Affleck is looking to sign on as Daisy’s husband, and Jay Gatsby’s chief romantic rival, Tom Buchanan. I approve of this casting. While I like Affleck much more as a writer and director than I do as an actor, when I try to imagine the jerk that would be married to and cheating on the girl I love, Affleck’s face fits in the scenario very easily. I’m sure people will have a very easy time rooting for DiCaprio to take him down and win young Ms. Mulligan’s hand. But, how I feel about a director as wildly stylistic as Luhrmann taking on such dry source material is still way up […]

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A lot of the details have already come to light about Luhrmann’s upcoming film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic “The Great Gatsby”. Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire are said to be in the cast as well. It has an August shooting date in Australia. It is going to be filmed in 3D. But when Vulture ran into Luhrmann at a dinner party and tried to get him to comment on the film, he kind of said it wasn’t happening. Luhrmann initially says, “I’m not doing Gatsby right now … despite what might be out there, I have made no comment about anything. So until I say it, it’s not said, you know.” In the beginning there was the word. So I guess none of the pretty concrete stuff people have been reporting about this project is true. Luhrmann has not said that he is making The Great Gatsby. Oh, but wait… the next thing he says in the interview is, “No, I’m making The Great Gatsby.” To quote Rick James, “I wouldn’t go grinding my feet on somebody’s couch like it’s something to do, I have a little more sense than that, yeah I remember grinding my feet on Eddie’s couch.”

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