Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby will open this year’s 66th Cannes Film Festival. The Cannes screening is just days after it’s wide U.S. release on May 10. The film looks to show off Luhrmann’s visually stunning film-making aesthetic, enhanced by filming in 3-D. Fans are eagerly awaiting Gatsby as the release was pushed from last December to this spring. After the Cannes announcement, Luhrmann released a statement.
It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes Film Festival. We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film Strictly Ballroom was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside Saint-Raphaël.
Speaking of Strictly Ballroom, while casting for Gatsby, he was releasing a special edition, remastered Ballroom DVD and writing a Ballroom stage adaptation that will premiere this fall in Australia. During this busy time, Luhrmann spoke to Movieweb about coming up with the idea for the dance film.
The whole thing came from growing up in a very isolated country town. We did ballroom dancing. It was a big part of our lives. It was like a working class theater. It was a great escape. There was a lot of show biz about it. There was a lot of competition. You got to hang out with girls, and go on tours. It was a big part of our lives. I love dancing. I think dance in any culture, in any form, is a true leveler. It’s a big deal.
Luhrmann talks about the themes of Ballroom that also resonate through much of his work.
If someone is telling you that there is only way to cha-cha-cha, or that there is only one way to make a movie, or to paint a picture, or one way to live your life…Or there is only one particular religious code…If they are telling you there is only one way, and that is the secret, and that as long as you do what they say, and you pursue the things they set up, and you use those buffers, and you’ll get a plastic cup…I just have never been able to buy into that belief. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be rules or structure. But within that, you need to find self-expression. You need to find self-revelation. That is the bigger idea in what is really a simple, and fun, and joyous show. With respect to old Hollywood, the outsider is a champion, and he starts a revolution.
If you haven’t seen Strictly Ballroom, pre-order your copy of the Blu-ray out this April. It’s a cult favorite with outstanding reviews and was even the genesis of the UK version of Dancing with the Stars, called Strictly Come Dancing.