Friday, May 10, 2013

Will Gatsby Be Great This Time?

The first attempt to adapt the 1925 novel for the silver screen was a 1926 silent film that no longer exists. A 1949 remake with Alan Ladd still exists but the DVD is not in print.

Nearly fifty years after the book's publication, Truman Capote turned in a new screenplay adaptation. He was fired and his script was hastily rewritten by Francis Ford Coppola. The previous year, Coppola had won the Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of The Godfather, his second in that category, having taken home the same prize in 1971 for his screenplay adaptation of Patton.

The 1974 Gatsby remake starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. While it won 2 Oscars, for its costumes and music, Coppola's writing went unrecognized, though he was nominated five more times that same year. He received Best Picture and Original Screenplay nods for The Conversation and won Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay for The Godfather: Part II.

Set to dominate the box office this weekend, the new 3D Gatsby was co-written by its director Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. The pair previously collaborated on the Red Curtain Trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge!, and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet). Rouge was their highest-grosser, with $57 million, but R+J's take, adjusted for inflation, was $82 million. Gatsby brings the writing partners back together after a screen absence of 12 years. Luhrmann's last feature was 2008's Australia, while Pearce co-wrote 2010's Charlie St. Cloud and worked on a draft for a Dark Crystal sequel, The Power of the Dark Crystal, which has been suspended indefinitely.

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