The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived — the first trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby has arrived. The star-studded adaptation of the iconic novel that almost everyone on Earth has read at one point, showed up online last night, and it features many of the Australian filmmaker’s hallmarks, including spectacular visuals (the film will be in 3-D), modern music in an anachronistic setting and performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Tobey Maguire, Amitabh Bachchan,and many others.
The writer/producer/director creates his own distinctive visual interpretation of the classic story, bringing the period to life in a way that has never been seen before, in a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. The story follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super-rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
We also love music around Stylesight, so a little analysis of the two songs played in the trailer is in order. As Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne track “No Church in the Wild” plays in the background, a Toby Maguire voiceover explains that “the restlessness approached … hysteria.” You’ll also hear a Jack Black remake of the classic U2 song, “Love is Blindness.”
“No Church in the Wild” by Jay-Z and Kanye West (with Frank Ocean)
They touch on status symbols, criminality, partying, and money, all of which factor into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. The 21st century lyrics, about the declining American Dream, closely parallel the excesses of the Roaring ’20s.
“Rolling in the Rolls-Royce Corniche”: Gatsby’s yellow Rolls convertible is a key symbol in the story.
“Socrates asked,’ Whose bias do y’all seek?’ “: The Great Gatsby paints a picture of a man who did everything to gain respect and notice with the help of status symbols and wealth. Gatsby was constantly seeking approval — in all the wrong places.
“Let me buy you desire”: Gatsby, very literally, tried to purchase the desire of the upper class and his long lost love, to no avail.
“I’m hidin’ from police”: The film is set during the crime-filled Prohibition era and it’s inferred in the story that Gatsby amassed his fortune as a bootlegger.
But the trailer isn’t the only place where Luhrmann enlisted the help of contemporary stars like Jay and Kanye: “On my first day, he had Jay-Z pumped up full and we did the entire scene with, you know, Jay-Z in our ear on full blast while acting and it was just so liberating,” Gatsby star Isla Fisher said in a recent interview. “[ Luhrmann] really understands actors and how self-conscious we feel at times, and how exposed we are and how we never know where anything lands. Just the complexity of being vulnerable every minute when you’re acting, and he just makes you feel so safe.”
If the first trailer is any indication, we are in for a treat when the soundtrack for Gatsby is released on Christmas day. Stay tuned for an upcoming Screen Style where our team will analyze all the Jazz Age looks in-depth.