Holy Rollers director Kevin Asch and producer Morris S. Levy have teamed up to give the great Fitzgerald tale a modern makeover - as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire prepare to launch their movie adaptation of the story this Christmas (12).
And the filmmakers are hoping their local links to Great Neck, New York, where Fitzgerald lived, will give the revamp, Affluenza, an authentic edge.
Asch tells WENN, "I was raised in Great Neck and remember reading The Great Gatsby as a teenager. The story had a profound affect on me as there were so many similarities between the fictional world of Gatsby and its loose moral fiber to that of my community.
"It also interested me to learn that F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived in Great Neck in the 1920s, used his experiences in that town as a backdrop for his renowned novel.
"There isn't a day that goes by where I don't feel inundated by headlines about volatile issues confronting the millennial generation. Our film explores an affluenza-infected society which was unprepared and unwilling to accept the death of the American dream. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this personal, provocative and timely story to the screen."
Newcomer Ben Rosenfield leads the cast alongside Wizards of Waverly Place star Gregg Sulkin, Nicola Peltz, Glee's Grant Gustin and Gossip Girl's Valentina de Angelis.
Filming will begin later this month (Jul12) in New York state.
And just like that the start of awards season is upon us. The Gotham Independent Awards take pride in only handing awards to the little films and winning films get a boost when they’re up against the studios in the Golden Globes and Oscars (even though these films often also have A-list actors and multi-million dollar production budgets, but whatever, they're independent).
The clear winner was Winter’s Bone who took home Best Feature and Best Ensemble which is fantastic news for Jennifer Lawrence. She’s an incredible new actress and this film is emotionally powerful. The way she completely inhabits her character and travels in the world of the backwoods is magic on screen. She’ll need all the help she can get for an Oscar nomination because the Best Actress field is as close as its been in years. And if you skipped over those last few sentences of bullshit, she looks like this. Proof positive. Proof positive of what, I’m not sure. Well besides being able to hurt my jaw when it hits the floor.
Other winners include The Oath in best documentary which is a shame because it isn’t even in contention for the Oscars. Kevin Asch won best breakthrough director for Holy Rollers which combines my two favorite past times of marijuana and Hasidic Jews. Ronald Bronstein won the breakthrough actor award for Daddy Longlegs. And if you’re going to get upset about how there isn’t a breakthrough actress award, I was too until I realized that they don’t even separate their acting awards by gender and that’s actually pretty equal when you think about it. So good job Gotham Awards for not setting back gender relations.
Director Debra Granik's acclaimed new movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as an impoverished teen who goes in search of her drug dealer father after learning he's put the family home up as a bail bond.
The chilling tale proved to be a hit with judges at the Gotham event, which is considered by many to open the awards season, taking home the best picture award ahead of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and Annette Bening and Julianne Moore's family drama The Kids Are All Right. Blue Valentine and Let Me In were also nominated in the category.
Winter's Tale went on to claim the Best Ensemble Performance for its cast, which also includes John Hawkes, Dale Dickey and Lauren Sweetser, although Lawrence lost out on the Breakthrough Actor title to Daddy Longlegs star Ronald Bronstein.
Speaking about her film's win, Granik tells the Hollywood Reporter, "The year started with getting recognition at Sundance, so that was a very intense night. It doesn't get any easier, though, to win awards."
Kevin Asch was named Breakthrough Director for Holy Rollers, a drama about an Orthodox Jew who embarks on a career as a drug pusher, while Laura Poitras' study on the war on terrorism in The Oath was hailed as Best Documentary.
Education system documentary Waiting For Superman earned the Festival Genius Audience Award, which was determined by online voting, and Mike Ott's Littlerock scored the prize for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.
In addition to the competitive awards, Hilary Swank, Robert Duvall, Aronofsky and movie mogul James Schamus were each presented with a career tribute.
Honouring his Get Low co-star Duvall, Bill Murray told the crowd, "He is better than all of you... He is better than me, too."
Black Swan star Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Leighton Meester and Anthony Mackie were also among the guests at the 20th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, hosted by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci and held at Manhattan's Cipriani Wall Street restaurant.
Last year's (09) Best Feature winner, The Hurt Locker, went on to win the Oscar's Best Picture prize.