Baz Luhrmann has released this picture he took of Carey Mulligan during her “Gatsby” audition.
Baz Luhrmann told Deadline that he has cast Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in his adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” Leonardo is set to play the title character, and Tobey Maguire is expected to play Gatsby’s neighbor (and the novel’s narrator) Nick Carraway.
(Apparently Luhrmann called her while she was walking the red carpet at some fashion event and she burst into tears on the spot after hearing the news. It’s either that or jump up and down screaming, “Oh my god, are you freakin’ serious?!!”)
Many other names had been attached to this role, including Natalie Portman, Amanda Seyfried, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively (who has a fantastic publicist–her name gets mentioned for pretty much every major female role whether she has a shot or not; if they were making a sequel to “Precious,” we’d hear “Blake Lively is in the running for the lead role”). I’m willing to give Mulligan the benefit of the doubt, because Luhrmann apparently conducted pretty extensive auditions, so she must have shown something. But to me, it’s not a question of acting ability. We know Mulligan can act, and in fact can act a lot better than most of her contemporaries. What worries me is that she projects a natural sweetness and humanity that Daisy doesn’t really have. Daisy is beautiful, but she’s also shallow and not a particularly good person. Gatsby painfully overrates her because to him, she represents an ideal, the position in life he aspires to; he’s so blinded by that he can’t see that she’s really not much more than a glamorous shell. I just don’t know if Mulligan has the kind of hard, frantic emptiness that is the real Daisy. To be honest, I think Keira Knightley actually would have been a good choice (and I’m not always a Keira cheerleader); she can project that kind of upper-class, brittle coldness that I think suits Daisy.
I think the other casting is spot on, though. The real question as always, though, is whether this book–one of the great American novels–is really filmable.