'The Great Gatsby' director Baz Luhrmann hopes his movie will inspire viewers to party like it's the '20s
'The Great Gatsby' 'captures summer in New York... accurately... viscerally,' the director said. 'The Great Gatsby' stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular character and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.
"Is there a book that captures summer in New York more accurately, more viscerally than 'The Great Gatsby'? I don't think so," Luhrmann told Reuters.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and with a soundtrack produced by rapper Jay-Z, the film has struck promotional partnerships with clothing retailer Brooks Brothers, jeweler Tiffany & Co. and Moet & Chandon champagne.
"The idea is that you don't just come see the movie, but also celebrate that extraordinary book throughout the summer," the Australian director said of his version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920s tale of decadence and illusion.
"There's an intoxication that (protagonist) Jay Gatsby used to draw all of New York into his glittering parties and his mysterious gardens."
The film, shot mostly in Australia, was a long time coming. Its release date was originally set for December 2012 but was pushed to May, causing speculation as to what was happening behind the scenes.
Luhrmann, who also directed the 2001 musical "Moulin Rouge," said the biggest issue was the unrelenting bad weather that kept halting production.
"It didn't rain once or twice, it rained five times," Luhrmann said. "I got shut down so many times that we had to reconvene in February (2012). When we reconvened, it rained again!"
It wasn't just the lousy weather that wreaked havoc on the schedule. Luhrmann said he got hit by a crane during production just before Christmas 2011.
"I wasn't going to die, but I had four stitches and a concussion," he said. "We just had to shut down at that point."
With visual effects also taking longer than anticipated, Luhrmann felt confident he could still deliver the film in time for release on Dec. 25, 2012.
That would have forced the actor to simultaneously promote two vastly different films during Hollywood's awards season.
"The convincing point for me was that the book is set in the sweltering summer," said Luhrmann. "All the action takes place during one summer period."
Luhrmann says he isn't too concerned about the competition.
"Those summer blockbusters? I get it," he said. "Yet what we are saying with 'Gatsby' is our film shouldn't live or die in one weekend. We've got to play throughout the entire summer. It's going to be the summer of Gatsby."