The adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel attracted the attention of Hollywood’s top actresses, including Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Rebecca Hall.
Director Baz Luhrmann said he chose Mulligan because her audition was perfect. “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,” he said.
“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’.”
Luhrmann telephoned Mulligan with the news on Monday night as she attended a New York fashion gala. The actress was so thrilled that she reportedly burst into tears on the red carpet.
Leonardo DiCaprio is in negotiations for the role of Jay Gatsby, the Long Island millionaire whose rise and fall mirrors the decadence and Great Depression of the 1920s. Tobey Maguire will play Nick Carraway, narrator of the novel.
Fitzgerald’s story was adapted in 1974 with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow in the lead roles, and won two Oscars.
Luhrmann, director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet, said the film will have resonance in the current economic climate. “If you wanted to show a mirror to people that says, ‘You’ve been drunk on money’, they’re not going to want to see it. But if you reflected that mirror on another time, they’d be willing to,” he said.
“People will need an explanation of where we are and where we’ve been, and The Great Gatsby can provide that explanation.”
Mulligan is hot property in Hollywood following her Oscar-nominated performance in An Education. She appeared in the Wall Street sequel and has been tipped for a second Oscar nomination next year with Never Let Me Go.