By Xinhua writers Du Jie, Pang Yuanyuan
BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- After Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" debuted in China, some Internet users became intrigued by the apparent intimacy between Jay Gatsby and Nick Caraway, the narrator of both the novel and the new film.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Luhrmann, best known for films "Moulin Rouge" and "Romeo + Juliet," satisfied the imaginations of some viewers by saying "Nick definitely loves Jay Gatsby."
In the novel "The Great Gatsby," written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Caraway narrates the doomed love between characters Gatsby and Daisy, as well as the corrupted American upper class during the Jazz Age of the 1920s.
In Luhrmann's lavish adaptation, Carraway appears in almost every scene where Gatsby shows up. His first encounter with Gatsby at the latter's castle is accentuated by flashy fireworks in the background and 3D effects, with some Chinese viewers describing the scene as "the gayest scene in (film) history."
The director was surprised but happy that the topic was even being discussed. "As to whether Nick is gay or straight, he will only begin to find that out after the movie," he said.
In the story, when Nick Carraway first comes to work in New York, he feels lost in the hypocrisy of Wall Street. But by the end of the film, he has started to work on his writing career.
"At the end of the book, he is taking his first steps towards self-revelation, and for the first time he discovers that he wants to be a writer," Luhrmann said.
"We all wanna know who we are, so that we can live free and strong and true," he said.
Luhrmann and his wife spent three years researching Fitzgerald's life and works in preparation for the film. In return, many Fitzgerald scholars, as well as Fitzgerald's granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan, embraced his new adaptation.
But the director's decision to shoot the film in 3D and use a hip-hop-inflected soundtrack produced by Grammy-award-winning rapper Jay-Z still drew controversy.
He explained that if Fitzgerald was alive to direct the movie himself, the writer would make the same decisions, as he was an unflinching modernist of his time.
"I feel that if I just did it nostalgically, looking backwards, I wouldn't be true to Fitzgerald," he said.
The film grossed a whopping 51.1 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend in the U.S., with its total American box office earnings exceeding 144 million U.S. dollars. Its soundtrack has also become a hit.
Although the original novel was published in 1925, Luhrmann still believes it's relevant to modern times and contemporary Chinese society, where consumerism and the pursuit of materialism are emerging in great force.
"There's nothing wrong with a flashy car or trying to make money, but if you think if that's the purpose of life, if you think that's gonna nourish you spiritually, then you are gonna end up being shallow like the Buchanans," he said.
Luhrmann also said he is seriously considering making a film in China, which is now the second-largest movie market in the world after the United States.
(Zhao Xiuzhi contributed to the story)