Moviehole’s reporter Hugh Humphreys was lucky enough to spend some time on the set of “The Great Gatsby” while it was filming at Fox Studios in Sydney at the end of 2011, and now with the film just a couple of weeks away from release, he’s finally allowed to tell everyone what was going on!
Over the next few days we will be unveiling more interviews conducted on the set of “The Great Gatsby” – we hope you keep an eye out.
Our first is an interview with Tobey Maguire, who plays the part of Nick Carroway, the novel’s narrator. We spoke just after he had shot part of the excessive party scene shown in the trailer at Jay Gatsby’s mansion.
MH: Were you always in mind for the part of Nick Carroway? How did it all come about?
TOBEY: I believe what happened was Leo gave me a call. Baz was out of town visiting Leo, and what i’m imagining happening was that Baz talked to Leo about his idea for “The Great Gatsby” and said he wanted me for Nick Carroway. So Leo called me and asked me to come over.
MH: Just like that?
TOBEY: So I came over and Baz was still not sure it was all going to come together, and if he was going to get finance, et cetera. So there wasn’t a definitive moment when I was going to play Nick and be in the movie – it was a slow process. Which is exciting because Leo is one of my best friends and Baz is so great – and i’m just fortunate that I’m a part of the film.
[Shortly before this interview, myself and a few other journalists had been shown a 15 minute "sample reel" - rough cuts compiled from the first fortnight of filming, with 20th and 21st century music as a soundtrack. It clearly created the vibe of where the film was heading - a luxuriously exorbitant display of wealth and excess with Baz's traditional cinematic flair.]
MH: How are you taking in Baz’s treatment of the novel in the film?
TOBEY: I love what Baz is doing. In terms of how it will be presented – I don’t know what the music will end up being, but I am really enjoying the process of making it. And I absolutely believe in our interpretation of it. I think it’s a great work of fiction and we’re interpreting it. In keeping true to our interpretation of what the story’s about and the major points throughout the story we’re certainly using so much of Fitzgerald’s writing in it – but we will take some licence as well.
MH: What do you think of Nick Carroway as a character?
TOBEY: I think a lot of things about Nick. I think very early on he reserves judgement and is a man of infinite hope. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have opinions about people, he just forgives people of what his judgements are and chooses to be an optimist and have hope for people that they will do the right thing. Or the good thing and that there’ll be a good version of themselves. And I think that’s one of his strengths. He’s sensitive and poetic and I think that’s great. His weaknesses are perhaps that he’s on his own journey and finding himself and certainly he’s got flaws. I just appreciate his journey, he’s in a sense seeking himself. I don’t think Nick Carroway is a Wall Streeter, but it’s a way to take another step and appease his family.
MH: Are you enjoying the process of playing the part of Nick Carroway?
I’m on a journey of discovery, I’m scratching around and trying to inhabit this character – sometimes I feel like i’m having a lot of fun and it’s exciting, but other times I think I’m searching and I’m not quite sure. Like in the movie, I’m trying to find him and it’s all part of the process.
MH: Walking around on set today we can see so many tiny details that may or may not end up being visible on screen. How important are those details for you as an actor, becoming a part of this gradiose world?
TOBEY: I think what the details add up to are very important in creating authenticity for our viewers, and in the world we adopt. They’re certainly important to me because a series of details adds up to who you are and what you’re doing. Catherine Martin [Baz's wife and costume and set designer extraordinaire] is brilliant. We’re living in a whole new world every day and I’m amazed at her and her team’s work. The costumes are stunning and of course it’s subjective, but I’m blown away by it.
“The Great Gatsby” is released in the United States on May 10, 2013; and May 30, 2013 in Australia.