EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has found his Daisy Buchanan. He has officially given the starring role in The Great Gatsby to Carey Mulligan, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Never Let Me Go star who’ll play the manipulative heroine when Luhrmann starts production on his adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic.
Mulligan was on the reception line for The Fashion Council Awards in New York when she got the call on her cell phone from Luhrmann, just a few minutes ago. She burst into tears on the red carpet in front of Karl Lagerfield and Anna Wintour. This all occurred shortly after Luhrmann showed the audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment execs Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, who were impressed by Mulligan’s command of the character played in the 1974 film by Mia Farrow.
Mulligan was a late entrant to an elite list of actresses that Luhrmann met with while he conducted readings with Leonardo DiCaprio, who’ll play Jay Gatsby. Tobey Maguire is expected to play his friend, Nick Carraway, who narrates the tale. No word yet on who’ll play the other major roles, Daisy’s husband Tom, their social companion Jordan Baker, Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson and her gas station owner husband George.
Luhrmann delivered the message to Deadline, and gave me the above photo he took of Mulligan during rehearsals, when she was in Daisy Buchanan mode on November 2. “The results from the workshop process on The Great Gatsby have been very encouraging,” he told Deadline. “There are a few elements that I feel need to be resolved before I would categorically state that this is my next film. Regarding the role of Daisy Buchanan, I was privileged to explore the character with some of the world’s most talented actresses, each one bringing their own particular interpretation, all of which were legitimate and exciting. However, specific to this particular production of The Great Gatsby, I was thrilled to pick up the phone an hour ago to the young Oscar-nominated British actress Carey Mulligan and say to her: “Hello, Daisy Buchanan.”
It was a busy day for Luhrmann who spoke at the funeral of Dino De Laurentiis along with the likes of David Lynch and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Luhrmann became close with the charismatic producer when they tried to mount an epic version of Alexander the Great that was to star DiCaprio. The project halted when a rival film with Oliver Stone and Colin Farrel made it into production first. Luhrmann spoke at length over how moved he was that De Laurentiis made his own family such a part of his life despite his thriving producing career, something Luhrmann made sure to emulate as he carved his own path. Luhrmann wore a red tie, in keeping with the De Laurentiis family wish.
PHOTO CREDIT: Carey Mulligan photographed auditioning for the role of Daisy Buchanan. New York City, November 2, 2010. Photo: Baz Luhrmann. Copyright: Bazmark