Was The Great Gatsby Always Destined for 3D?


Everyone’s favorite overly ambitious Aussie filmmaker has made a startling claim about his most recent project. At a consumer electronics conference last week, Baz Luhrmann suggested that his new screen adaptation of The Great Gatsby might be best suited for 3D. Indeed: That would mean that Daisy Buchanan, Nick Carraway, Gatsby, and the rest of the gang would explode out from the screen in more than just brilliant literary prowess and symbolic resonance.

While Luhrmann hasn’t decided whether to go forth and conquer this chestnut of an idea, we dove deeply into the pages of Fitzgerald’s masterwork, and discovered passages that suggest that the author — no stranger to Hollywood’s whims — may have had his eyes on a 3D film adaptation when he first wrote Gatsby. You know, even though such a thing didn’t exist yet. Click through to examine the evidence, along with a few of our production notes to ensure a healthy box office.

P. 12: “The only stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon.” This is great, but if the balloon is “anchored” there’s no way it can fly up and surprise and excite people. May we suggest an unanchored balloon, one that actually moves?

P. 20: “As Daisy shook her head decisively at Tom the subject of the stables, in fact all subjects, vanished into the air.” Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If it’s thought bubbles literally popping onscreen out of Daisy and Tom’s heads into thousands of shiny glass fragments then good, we’re on the same page.

P 43: “In his blue gardens men and women came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” Now we’re getting into Avatar territory. Very exciting. Obviously we’re picturing all the men and women at Gatsby’s party morphing into actual moths at this point, slowly forming an army, preparing to take over the state of New York.

P. 90: “The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain. I had to follow the sound of it for a moment, up and down, with my ear alone before any words came out.” If the ripple in Daisy’s much-discussed voice could be an actual zigzag across the screen, we think this scene can be very powerful. And it should be green! And blinking.

P. 114: “Only the bright door sent ten square feet of light volleying out into the soft black morning. Sometimes a shadow moved against a dressing-room blind above, gave way to another shadow, an indefinite procession of shadows, who rouged and powdered in an invisible glass.” OVERLOAD. OVERLOAD. We love shadows. Didn’t Orson Welles use a bunch of shadows in his Citizen King movie?

P. 156: “Many men had already loved Daisy — it increased her value in his eyes. He felt their presence all about the house, pervading the air with the shades and echoes of still vibrant emotions.” If the men from Daisy’s past can make “ghostly” sounds and move in and around the frame like the ghosts in The Haunting or The Hills Have Eyes 2, then we can really have a horror-movie-moment here.

P. 170: “With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool.” This is a great moment, as long as we can change “little ripples” to “giant ripples,” and “hardly the shadows of waves” to “actual tidal waves.” Can we do that?

P. 188: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Love it, Really excited for this. We’ve got the boat team from Perfect Storm and we’re trying to get the guy who did the water effects for White Squall.