During a rather uncomfortable, air condition-less ride on the Trans Siberian Express Romeo and Juliet filmmaker Baz Lurhmann listened to an audio version of The Great Gatsby. Five hours and a full bottle of wine later it dawned on him that he could make F. Scott Fitzgerald's story come alive on the silver screen. "I realized I didn't know this book at all. It was us, it was you, it was me!" We had a similar reaction the film--having only read the book alongside the Cliffs Notes in high school. After the screening (tip: you have to see it in 3D), we had lunch with Baz Luhrmann and his all-star cast to get their Cliff's Notes--in other words, their view of Fitzgerald, their own characters, and, of course, Jay-Z's already famous soundtrack.
BAZ LUHRMANN ON THE MUSIC
"Fitzgerald wasn't nostalgic, but he put Jazz front and center in his text. He made it immediate. I wanted the music to feel the way people felt when they read Gatsby in the '20s--when Jazz was dangerous. A young man trying to reach a note on his horn that he'll never reach."
BAZ LURHMANN ON JAY-Z ON THE MUSIC
"Jay-Z was one the first people to see the film. His reaction was, 'wow--that is beautiful.' He said, 'The thing about the film is that it's aspirational. It's about whether or not Gatsby is a good person. Does he have a moral compass?' He uses all of those things to draw people in and then in the end he's murdered and no one wants to know about him. Nick Carraway says that 'he was the most hopeful person he had ever met.'
CAREY MULLIGAN ON BEING DAISY BUCHANAN
"I don't think of Daisy as having a modern feel. I loved reading letters from Zelda Fitzgerald and Ginevra King [an American socialite and muse for F. Scott Fitzgerald's character, Daisy]. King wrote to Gatsby, 'Wholeheartedly, I would absolutely marry anyone--rich or poor--of course, it's outrageous not to do what your family tells you to do.' They all have this jaded feeling at the age of 25."
ISLA FISHER ON BEING A FLOOSIE
"Having dated bad boys that are emotionally unavailable--you're always searching for some way to change them. I've never not played a floozie. If my father were here he could attest to the fact that I've brought great shame on the family."
TOBEY MAGUIRE ON BEING NICK CARRAWAY
"It was fun diving into the past. I love this book, but I didn't want to just stand in the room--it's selfish actor stuff. You constantly feel him [Nick] soaking up the other actors in the room. He's searching and floundering a bit."
CATHERINE MARTIN ON THE JEWELRY
"We used 20 pieces from the Tiffany archive that would have been appropriate for the period. Tom gave Daisy a string of pearls on the night before their wedding. Also, Fitzgerald was a [Tiffany] customer."