While best buds Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire have been seen gallivanting about New York, workshopping scenes for Baz Luhrmann's upcoming adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the Australian director has been hard at work, sorting through a veritable who's who of Hollywood talent for the role of 'Daisy.'
Although early rumors had Amanda Seyfried as the love interest for Gatsby (DiCaprio), Luhrmann's been screen-testing an extensive wish list of top-tier talent including Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Carey Mulligan, Michelle Williams, and Scarlett Johansson.
However, we hear Scarlett Johansson also tested very well in New York last week, and she's still being considered for the part by Luhrmann and DiCaprio. But Johansson also recently committed to starring in Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo, which 20th Century Fox wants to begin shooting late this spring, and Luhrmann has been planning on a summer shoot for Gatsby. All of which means that Mulligan is the likely candidate.
Mulligan is an incredibly talented actress, so we'd certainly love to see her in the part, opposite DiCaprio and Maguire (as narrator Nick Carraway), but everything depends on how Luhrmann decides he wants to develop her role. In Fitzgerald's 1925 classic, Daisy is a beautiful but shallow character; a lesser actress could potentially work better if Luhrmann wanted to make Daisy a blank slate. A challenging directorial choice of that sort could make Gatsby's infatuation with her all the more tragic. Still, Luhrmann might be on safer ground casting a more skilled actress, like Mulligan, who could more than hold her own opposite DiCaprio.
No matter who gets picked - just so long as it's not Blake Lively - I'm thrilled to see that Gatsby is moving confidently towards production. If ever there were a time for another remake of Fitzgerald's critique of the American dream (the most recent version starred Robert Redford, Sam Waterston, and Mia Farrow in 1974), it's in our current post-recession culture of Wall Street villainy.