We didn’t need another film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, but if someone had to do it, it had to be Baz Luhrmann. The kind of large-scale opulence that the book describes and critiques is the 50-year-old director’s wheelhouse. For a while, Luhrmann pulls it off, too: The first hour of his Gatsby is an ecstatic tear through '20s hedonism. The camera swoops and whizzes like it's just excited to be there. The music, which finds contemporary pop royalty marrying big-band with big-room house or just dipping into dubstep, blares. Bouquets of people dance in pools, spill out of convertibles, and cram into ample hallways. The words “chemical madness” and “kaleidoscopic carnival” are uttered. Luhrmann parks at the intersection of kitsch and hallucination, stumbles out of his Duesenberg and deliriously rolls all over in the road.
The official trailer for Baz Luhrmann's 3D extravaganzabonanza The Great Gatsby has arrived, as if you didn't wish you lived in 1920s New York enough already.
Director Baz Luhrmann turns 47 today. Gossip Girl's Matthew Settle is turning 40. Joe Bastianich, the restaurateur and partner of Mario Batali, is 41. Russian supermodel Eugenia Volodina is 25. Supreme Court Justice David Souter turns 70. American Idol contestant-turned-Broadway star Constantine Maroulis is turning 34. One of the Miller sisters, Princess Marie-Chantal, is 41. Rapper Doug E. Fresh is turning 43. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is 64. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley turns 76. And Paula Jones is 43, although she probably shouldn't expect a birthday card from Bill Clinton.
Baz Luhrmann takes a long time to make a movie. His Australia came out seven years after Moulin Rouge!, which came out five years after Romeo + Juliet. The gestation periods are so long that nothing is ever set in stone, in terms of his future projects, until cameras have started rolling. Which is why we chuckle a bit and scratch our heads when Nikki Finke says that the Aussie is definitely doing a Great Gatsby movie for his next endeavor. Nothing is ever definite with this man! Look at some other Luhrmann rumors that haven't—but may still!—come to fruition.
What do you do when your big sweeping Oscar-hopeful epic that cost $130 million dollars does a shallow swan dive at the box office? You completely change the party line on the entire movie! Well, that's what Fox is doing about Australia—Baz Luhrmann's continental Nicole Kidman/Hugh Jackman period romance—at least. Though the film initially was being thrust at us as Titanic but with Aborigines and a lot more plastic surgery, it's now been shifted (or downgraded) to an artsy "adult" (not that kind of adult) flick. So its disappointing $20 million Thanksgiving numbers aren't disappointing at all anymore!
We hate to say we told you so, but Australia—Baz Luhrmann's sweepy weepy about his homeland in the 1940's—is not doing so well at the ol' box office. Nikki Finke reports that it's basically tanking, ceding top honors to such unambitious, unartsy fare as the darkening Twilight and this weekend's most likely top dog (and we mean dog), Four Christmases.
At last night's opening night party for the New York City Ballet's David H. Koch Theater, guest of honor David Koch and wife Julia mingled with Candace Bushnell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Keys, Al Roker, Debbie Bancroft, Lisa Falcone, Mary Alice Stephenson, Alexandra Lebenthal, Zani Gugelmann, Annie Churchill, Peter Martins, Veronica Webb, Mark Indelicato, Blythe Danner, Valentino, Rachel Roy, Derek Lam, Peter Som, and Vanessa Williams, who all ate, drank, and danced to inaugurate the new Lincoln Center venue. [Wireimage, PMc, Style.com]
Say what you want about Lydia Hearst, but she takes her spokesmodel duties seriously. At last night's premiere of Australia at the Zeigfeld Theater, the socialite and erstwhile columnist wore a dress that was, she told the Daily Transom, inspired by the film. But what, exactly, does a floor-length purple halter with Japanese buttons up the side have to do with Baz Luhrmann's epic about an aristocrat and a cattle herder in pre-World War II Australia? "There were actually a lot of Asian seamstresses in Australia during the pre-WWII era," said Lydia. "And you don't see dresses like this anymore." Possibly a good thing, but you be the judge.
For those early viewers still nursing lukewarm responses to Australia, Baz Luhrmann has a note making the rounds that hints your projectionist might be to blame. While it's hardly uncommon for anal directors to personally attend to details of test screenings and premieres, a tipster has passed along something you don't see every day: Luhrmann's personal directions to theater managers on how not to screw up his epic when it opens Nov. 26:
Stateside critics have finally seen Australia, and the reviews are in! Kind of, anyway; we've mostly been sorting through first impressions, rough blog sketches and less-then-soaring anti-summaries ("Some kind of lethargy virus had taken over my system," wrote Jeffrey Wells), but we think we have enough to go on to figure out where Baz Luhrmann's epic may sit among this fall's most anticipated releases. Your one-stop cheat sheet follows the jump.· It's... OK! Todd McCarthy has the most substantial review so far in Variety, starting off:
Fans of big old sweeping historical, romance, adventure epics (like us) are mostly pretty excited for Australia, Baz Luhrmann's (Romeo + Juliet!, Moulin Rouge!!) new 1940's set ode to his home country, starring native son and daughter Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. It's the most expensive movie ever made in Australia, and is the Great White hope for its tourism industry. Well, it finally premiered last night in Sydney and sooo how is it? According to early critics, it's pretty good! Stirring and exciting enough, romantic enough, not as treacly as its big, grand trailer (above) may make it seem. We'll give a little digest of the reviews below. Megan Lehmann for The Hollywood Reporter: