I'm all over casting news these days, so it shouldn't be any big shock that I would write about the official decisions coming out regarding Baz Luhrmann's planned adaptation of The Great Gatsby. People have been talking about this for weeks, probably months. Though not officially confirmed, Leonardo diCaprio is widely believed to be taking on Jay Gatsby, an inspired choice if you ask me. No offense to those of you who love All the President's Men and will always enjoy a viewing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I'm fairly certain that Leo has more acting ability in a mere thumbnail than the best performance Robert Redford is capable of putting forth (Redford played Gatsby in the best-known film version).
Needless to say, most of the hubbub in the entertainment world has been a result of the speculation about Daisy Buchanan. Everyone seemed to have an idea of who the best Daisy might be, and reportedly, the final four contenders were Scarlett Johanssen, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively (shudder), and Carey Mulligan. Two days ago, Luhrmann officially announced that Carey Mulligan snagged the coveted role, referring to her, in a rather overdramatic way, as "his Daisy." Though I'll admit that her face is not exactly what I imagine-she's not what you might call conventionally pretty-Carey is poised to be a huge star. She's good. And certainly making good choices.
I'm not thrilled with the rumored casting of Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway (ugh, I just cannot dredge up any feelings of like for him) but I'm thinking the rest is a great start for a reboot of the beautifully written, tragic American classic.
In honor of the news, I decided it might be fun to thumb through my copy of the book and highlight a few of my favorite quotes. It's such an astounding book, and I have the fond memory of being inspired to read it after a conversation with my then-seventeen-year old cousin. He's a cerebral, thoughtful type, much more than one might expect at that age. I remember coming into the house one afternoon (I lived with my aunt and uncle for a summer), and he was intently watching the Redford/Farrow/Waterston version of the movie. I was surprised to see that he was so into it, and after a chat about the book, I decided to read it right away. It's one of the few books I've actually reread.
Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.
He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced-or seemed to face-the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
'If it wasn't for the mist we could see your home across the bay,' said Gatsby. 'You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.' Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.