Baz Luhrmann Wants ‘Gatsby’ Star Leonardo DiCaprio for ‘Hamlet’

Credit: Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images

Whether it’s the archetypical cowboy of Australia, legendary heartthrob in Romeo + Juliet, or his latest protagonist, the mysterious prince of Long Island, Jay Gatsby, director Baz Luhrmann loves a larger-than-life leading man. They fit perfectly into the heightened worlds he creates on screen, epic in every detail. It’s made Leonardo DiCaprio the ideal collaborator for the Moulin Rouge director. The actor can swing from subtle to manic in the blink of an eye, and that’s how Luhrmann loves to pace his films. Emotion is constantly boiling.

This weekend sees the release of Luhrmann and DiCaprio’s second team-up, the writer/director’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Despite the movie just now making its way to theaters, it seems that Luhrmann already has his sights set on another grand character for DiCaprio to inhabit. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Luhrmann revealed that he’s hoping to cast DiCaprio in a new version of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

“To me, Gatsby is the American Hamlet. What else could we possibly do as a follow-up?” Luhrmann tells THR. He admits that it’s presently just wishful thinking, but tackling Shakespeare’s most complicated male character would be a fitting third entry for the actor/director duo.

Hamlet has been a staple of the theater, and in turn, the cinema since the early days of film. The classic 1948 version saw Laurence Olivier become the first person to direct himself to a Best Actor Oscar. Recent adaptations include Kenneth Branagh’s breathtaking 242-minute 1996 adaptation, a 2000 modernized version starring Ethan Hawke, and Disney’s The Lion King, which draws heavily from the play’s story beats. On the TV side, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has noted the connections between his biker show and Hamlet, while a number of networks are currently in developments on their own Shakespearean series riffs.

Is Luhrmann and DiCaprio’s Hamlet to be or not to be? That is the question that may have an answer after this weekend, when Great Gatsby‘s box office totals arrive.

Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches

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