Baz Luhrmann's Jay-Z and Prada-infused The Great Gatsby (in 3D) arrives in theaters this weekend, for better or worse or somewhere in between, and Luhrmann is already dreaming up the next classic text he's going to glitter up, according to The Hollywood Reporter: Shakespeare's Hamlet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. What could this possibly look like?
What makes Luhrmann's adaptation of Gatsby so very jarring is that you don't mess around with Fitzgerald, or at least not many Hollywood people have tried. Shakespeare, on the other hand, gets messed with all the time — and of course Luhrmann himself directed DiCaprio in 1996's Romeo + Juliet. And yet, Luhrmann has traits that are just so very... Baz that, well, we can't imagine his movies without them. What other Luhrmann-y goodness (or badness) might a Hamlet contain? We've consulted some Shakespearean experts and done some brainstorming for him, even though nobody's signed on and Baz might think of something even crazier (or tamer) than these:
The Experts' Take
Garland Scott, head of external relations for the Folger Shakespeare Library, consulted with some colleagues and emailed to tell us: "One thing we all agree on is that it's impossible to imagine a Baz Luhrmann film without water! So it definitely would be a wet Hamlet if nothing else ... which would make Ophelia's death interesting."
Water was also a theme for Robert Richmond, the director of the current production of Twelfth Night at the Folger Theatre and an associate professor at the University of South Carolina. He imagined that it would "have a modern sound track and be set against a back drop of water." He added: "From the fish tank of Romeo + Juliet perhaps one can imagine Ophelia drowning in pool covered in Hamlet's love letters, dragged to the bottom in her prom dress. And perhaps given that Leo is now a little older in years, his studies at Wittenberg University are for his Ph.D. in philosophy! Revenge might not come easy to a nerdy, awkward Hamlet who's logical mind does not allow him to believe in the afterlife."
The Format: 3D, obviously. Just imagine, Baz Lurhmann is the man who had the idea of actually putting Daisy Buchanan in the sky. Like Mufasa. Now think of what he could do with a story that has an actual ghost in it. Hamlet's father is going to be coming at you, people.
The Setting: Luhrmann transformed Shakespeare's Verona into Verona Beach. Denmark is pretty important to Hamlet—that whole thing about something being rotten there—so Luhrmann will probably keep it at least nominally there. (And, let's face it, the thing will be shot in Australia.) Luhrmann, obviously obsessed with the idea of the play within the play, sets his adaptation in the Elsinore Nightclub, a burlesque venue with a water park element, to which Hamlet is heir.
The Cast: Obviously, Leo is our Hamlet. Baz will try another go around with Hugh Jackman, trying to make up for Australia, as Claudius, and he'll bring back Nicole Kidman for Gertrude. Claire Danes will hopefully reunite with Leo to play Ophelia, assuming her Homeland schedule provides. If she can't do it, hell, maybe Gatsby's Elizabeth Debicki will step in. John Leguizamo will play Polonious, absolutely.
The Music: Realizing that Lana Del Rey was actually, shockingly, the best thing on the Gatsby soundtrack, and feeling her plaintive wails totally embody Hamlet's angst, Luhrmann enlists Lana to produce the soundtrack. Skrillex also contributes. From space.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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