Book to Movie #1: The Great Gatsby (December 2012)

Book cover of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldIn the interests of full disclosure, I didn’t actually like The Great Gatsby much. Written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it’s supposed to symbolise the ‘American Dream’ and satirise the rise of prosperity from selling illicit goods, but I just don’t get it somehow. I’m not sure if it just wooshes over my head or if it is just a pointless, boring story but either way – we’re not friends.
But hey, I’m not actually writing about the book here and the film, due for UK release on 26th December 2012, looks surprisingly good.

It should though. With a top-rate cast and acclaimed director Baz Lurhman (of Moulin Rouge and the 1996 version of Romeo + Juliet, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio), it’s set to do tremendously well.

For those who don’t know the plot, here’s a summary – 
Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in The Great GatsbyNick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy. Eventually, Nick realises that Gatsby is familiar with his cousin Daisy, who is unfortunately already married.  

Like I said, I’m not a fan of the book. I’m more like an anti-fan if we’re being honest. But even I can’t help but see that this film has been almost perfectly cast. I just can’t imagine a better Jay Gatsby than Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m pretty sure I even imagined him in my head when I read it. He just emanates Gatsbyness somehow – all slick and suave. If I could give an award for Best Cast Character, Like Ever it would be here. 

Tobey Maguire is very nearly as perfect, although kind of in the opposite way. Nick Carraway, the narrator, is a little awkward, a little fumbly, a little… odd and who better to play the shy loner than Tobey Maguire? Again, I can’t really think who could do this role better. That little lopsided smile. Bless him.
Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby
Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson.
The role of Myrtle has been given to Isla Fisher, which surprised me a little. She’s usually known for lighter films like Confessions of a Shopaholic, Definitely, Maybe and Wedding Crashers, but more power to her for landing this role. It’ll be interesting to see how she’ll do in a film like The Great Gatsby. I hope it goes well for her, she’s so adorable it makes me smile.

So yes, I think the casting could make this film. But… Daisy. Oh Daisy, Daisy, Daisy. Fifty-six million other actresses were considered before Carey Mulligan was chosen to play Daisy Buchanan, so I’m pretty sure one of them would have been better. Okay, so not quite that many. But we’re talking Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, Natalie Portman, Scarlet Johannsenn… lots of big-name actresses. Who got it? The woman who played Kitty Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Badly.

January Jones as Betty Draper in Mad Men
January Jones in Mad Men.

Personally, I pictured January Jones as I was reading it. She played Betty Draper in Mad Men, and to me, she looked and sounded perfect. I don’t expect the casting agents of major films to cater to my every whim, I just think that Carey Mulligan doesn’t look right and from the little I’ve seen of her, isn’t that great an actress either. I know, I know – I’m judging her before I’ve even seen a trailer, let alone the movie. But look at the photo near the top. She just kind of ‘clunks’ somehow.

To their credit, they seem to have stuck quite closely to the book. The dramatic ending looks to be completely intact from the images I’ve seen, although there would have been uproar if it wasn’t. I suppose The Great Gatsby is more about symbolism and atmosphere than actual story though, and the director seems to have put in a lot of effort to preserve that.

I’m not sure how well this will do in the Box Office though. Don’t get me wrong, it looks amazing, but I can’t really see how much it will appeal to non-readers. There’s not much action to display in a trailer, and thereby sell it to folks that don’t know what The Great Gatsby actually is. The trailer isn’t available yet, but I guess that will give us more of an idea.

What do you think of The Great Gatsby so far? I’d love to know!


  1. Laura says:

    Aw, poor Carey Mulligan! I can't really be doing with costume dramas so I didn't see her in P&P, but she was really good in An Education! Leo is pretty much always awesome, so I'm thinking he'll be good!

    I do like The Great Gatsby, BUT I've read it twice now and neither time have I retained any information from it, like literally at all. Which worries me somewhat, and has happened with other Fitzgerald books… Very strange…

    1. Hanna says:

      Oh Laura my dear, that's very easily explained… There is NO INFORMATION TO RETAIN. There, aren't you glad I could help you out with that one? 😀

      I can actually remember it pretty well, which is why I'm so interested in the film. Well that, and I do like Leo Dicaprio.

  2. I would like to start writing articles and post them like you do, but i just can’t decide which platform to use, between blogger and wordpress. Which 1 would u recommend for a newbie like me? By the way good articles you have!
    gatwick to w2 | luton to w2

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