The Great Gatsby
Director Baz Luhrmann is best known for his work in the musical genre with the Oscar-winning Moulin Rouge! As well as updating Shakespeare for a 20th century audience with the global smash hit Romeo + Juliet. Much of the film’s success can be attributed to its star and teen heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio, who will reunite with Luhrmann in 2013 for their adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
One could argue that the director’s latest project is both an adaptation and a remake as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s acclaimed novel, commonly thought of as the ‘great American novel’, was first adapted with mixed results by Jack Clayton in the 1970’s, with Robert Redford playing the title role. The film centres on the character of Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) and his fascination with his extravagant and mysterious neighbour Jay Gatsby. Luhrmann has stated that he intends his take on Gatsby to draw parallels between the lavish lifestyles of the novel’s 20’s socialites and modern-day plutocrats. The Great Gatsby will hit UK cinemas on 17th May.
The Wolf of Wall Street
The second entry on the list also sees Leonardo DiCaprio working with a director with whom he has previously worked, and to great effect. In fact, The Wolf of Wall Street will be the fifth time that Martin Scorsese has directed his favoured leading man.
The movie is based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, who in the 1990’s was convicted of stock market manipulation crimes. DiCaprio will portray the New York stockbroker who refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration. Alongside The Great Gatsby and the recently released Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall Street is the last project DiCaprio has undertaken into 2013 before a planned break from acting; the star recently admitted that he is “worn out”. Scorsese on the other hand could not be busier! Continuing to film his as yet untitled Bill Clinton documentary and beginning pre-production on 17th Century historical drama Silence, before moving on to his recently announced Frank Sinatra biopic. The Wolf of Wall Street is expected to be released in late 2013
In 2010, Joseph Kosinski proved he had a firm grasp on the sci-fi genre with Tron: Legacy, a sequel to the 1982 animation game-changer Tron. Upon its release I was surprised to see a movie which I felt was visually stunning and action-packed receive such negative reviews. Sure it didn’t quite pack the same punch as its predecessor, but it was nice to see such entertaining science fiction doing so well at the post-Inception box office.
In April 2013, the director returns with his sophomore feature Oblivion, teaming up with Tom Cruise to tell the tale of a soldier who is sent to a distant planet to exterminate what remains of its alien inhabitants. The film marks Cruise’s first return to the genre following his work with Steven Spielberg in the underrated War of the Worlds and the cat and mouse actioner Minority Report.
World War Z
Max Brooks’ World War Z is as much a piece of travel literature as it is a zombie apocalypse novel. The book’s chapters chart the numerous stages of a cannibalistic epidemic which has swept the globe. Its narrative is told through interviews, each one coming from a different nation and offering a different perspective of the worldwide crisis. The novel has a globe-trotting minor central character, portrayed by Brad Pitt, who strives to uncover the truth through the terrifying first-hand accounts of his interviewees.
From the trailer it appears that the film may have done away with the unusual structure of its source material and pumped for a more conventional narrative structure. One can only hope that director Marc Forster does not misjudge what gave the novel its uniqueness and create yet another substandard zombie shoot-em-up.