EXCLUSIVE: While James Bond has gotten the lion’s share of attention from studios this week, Jay Gatsby has also been making a stir around town. I’m told Warner Bros has emerged as the clear frontrunner to finance and take worldwide distribution on The Great Gatsby, the Baz Luhrmann-directed adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic.
The film will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. The pieces are still coming together, but a deal could be done by Friday. Deals with the cast will follow, with DiCaprio furthest along in negotiations to play Gatsby. Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher have joined the project, and will produce with Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Catherine Knapman of Luhrmann/Bazmark Films. G Mac Brown will also produce. Luhrmann wrote the script with Craig Pearce. Given what is happening, recent reports that Luhrmann might not do The Great Gatsby seem completely unfounded. Though Luhrmann also has an original musical project and is refashioning his breakout film Strictly Ballroom as a stage musical, he has been squarely focused on Gatsby. He spent weeks recently reading top young actresses for the role of the manipulative Daisy Buchanan, before Luhrmann decided that Mulligan was the right fit to play alongside DiCaprio and Maguire (who’ll play narrator Nick Carraway). Warner Bros seems a good fit: the studio is home to DiCaprio’s Appian Way, and he just starred in Inception; Warner Bros has also wanted to be in business with Luhrmann.
As for Bond, Deadline revealed Tuesday that the franchise is close to landing at Sony Pictures, in a deal with MGM that involves the studios working together on a number of films that include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.