Monday, May 23, 2022


May 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In advance of tonight’s (Wednesday) screening of The Great Gatsby, which opens this year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival, an overflow crowd of reporters gathered for a press conference for the filmmakers, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and director Baz Luhrmann taking center stage. Luhrmann displayed his flare for the dramatic by recounting an experience at the recent premiere of his movie in the U.S., telling about how “an extremely regal woman” who spoke with the inflections of Katherine Hepburn, appeared “out of the shadows” and she took my hand and said, ‘I’ve come from Vermont to see what you did with my grandfather’s book.’ I froze. She added: ‘I think Scott would have been proud of this film.’ … So for me, that was about as good as it could possibly get.” The woman was presumably Eleanor Lanahan, a Vermont writer (Zelda, an Illustrated Life) and artist. Her remark was in sharp contrast to those of several critics who have expressed the belief that Fitzgerald would have been horrified by Luhrmann’s treatment of Gatsby. Only today (Wednesday), Peter Bradshaw, film critic for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, commented that it seemed to him as if Luhrmann “had created the film on the basis of a brief, bullet-pointed executive summary of the book prepared by a corporate assistant.” Luhrmann, however, insisted that during the productiion, ‘Leonardo would almost drive me crazy, but in a good way, because he would say, ‘Are we honoring that book?’ And that was our singular focus.” He also pointed out that last week, Fitzgerald “sold more copies of The Great Gatsby than he did in his entire lifetime.”