Perhaps you’ve heard about the new Great Gatsby film that begins shooting this summer. Australian director Baz Luhrmann will be shooting the Leonardo DiCaprio 3D film in Syndey, and I’m more than a bit puzzled as to what he sees in the book that would make the movie adaption ripe material for 3D treatment. Baz, please don’t add any explosions or special effects or extended martial arts sequences. Still, I trust your judgment and don’t want to be too critical because I really, really, really want to be in this film.
Do any readers know Baz Luhrmann? Can you put in a good word for me to be an extra? Or maybe even two to three good words. And if you can’t think of any good words to describe me, can you please refrain from saying anything to Baz?
I know he would have to pay me something because of union rules, but I would be more than happy to be an extra for free. If he tells me the week he needs me, I’ll pay my own way to Sydney and will even provide my own smoking jacket costume. I would pay him to let me be in this movie, but I know he can’t take any official payment, so I would suggest taking him out to dinner one night after shooting, and he can disappear to the bathroom when the check comes and we’ll call it even. (He’ll have to order from the specials menu because restaurants in Sydney are insanely expensive.)
I’ve been a film extra before, and I can provide references of past films where I demonstrated proficiency in playing a broad range of roles:
1. Guy pretending to talk to a girl at a bar
2. Guy pretending to talk to two girls at a bar
3. Guy pretending to talk to one girl while sipping a drink as the star danced in the background
4. Guy pretending to talk with a girl while walking together back and forth in the distant background
5. Guy pretending to be looking for something in a closet
I got four out of five of these on the first take, and I could do any of these roles for The Great Gatsby. The film is going to need hundreds of extras for the Gatsby party scenes, and I imagine a lot of those extras will be required to pretend to talk to girls at a bar–that’s something I already know how to do. And how about the scene where Gatsby is rummaging through the house looking for cigarettes? If DiCaprio can’t do this convincingly, I might be a good guy to have around to show him how to look for something in a closet.
I’m also always professional around the stars. I’m not going to ask Leonardo DiCaprio for a picture or ask him to invest in my brother’s business. I won’t even try to talk to the stars, and if DiCaprio tries to say hi to me I’ll tell him to shut up. If he asks me about my blog and says it’s the best thing he’s ever read, I’ll tell him to mind his own business.
I am perfectly content to play an extra, but I would also be willing to play a larger role. I am willing to play Klipspringer, and I even know how to play the piano. I’m probably too young to play Owl Eyes, but I’d take the part in a minute, and you’d be moved to tears when I say, “Why, my God! they used to go there by the hundreds. The poor son-of-a-bitch,” with such empathy and emotion that you’ll forget how inappropriate it is for me to be wearing a smoking jacket to Gatsby’s funeral.
I could even play Wilson, but don’t be surprised if I ad-lib and “accidentally” shoot Tom Buchanan at the end instead of Gatsby.
Regardless of whether I play a part, here are a couple suggestions for the screenplay:
1. I think Tom Buchanan should start on fire at the end of the movie. Somehow his life is saved and after ten years of painful recuperation, his doctors celebrate the recovery with a cigar and accidentally light Tom on fire again. This pattern will continue for the rest of his life.
2. I think Leonardo DiCaprio is a fine choice to play Gatsby, but here’s the challenge you’ve probably already realized, Baz: the studio will want you to give DiCaprio the most scenes, but this would be a mistake. Gatsby should only be seen infrequently. Sure his name is on the cover, but Nick Carraway only speaks to him for the first time on page 60. This is one of the principle reasons the Redford-Gatsby version failed. If Redford is in your movie, of course he’s going to have the most scenes, but this ruins the shroud of mystery surrounding the character, and we should see Gatsby mostly through Nick Carraway’s eyes, not our own. I suggest giving 50% screen time to Nick Carraway, 15% to Gatsby, and 35% to me.
But seriously, does anybody know a casting agent in Sydney or how to get a hold of Baz Luhrmann’s production company, Bazmark? If any readers can provide me a promising lead and I get on as an extra, I will send you a smoking jacket.