Exclusive: Baz Luhrmann Spills The Beans On Gatsby, K-Stew, & Kanye

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As the whole world waits with anticipation, passing the time by adding fringing to their hemlines, perfecting their Charleston step, and watching the Gatsby trailer again, and again, and again, Baz Luhrmann is moving on from the Roaring Twenties, at least last night. Supporting the Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 (the South Korean brand's answer to the iPad) as a modern means to “create," we got tech-savvy with the Aussie director at the NYC launch party. The ends of our fingertips were tingling from all the touchscreen tapping...or maybe it just the adrenaline rush from the Romeo + Julie soundtrack we blasted while we were getting ready...
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Your films are always based in the past — from Australia to Moulin Rouge. What makes you come out for such a modern product like the GALAXY Note?
"A long time ago, they [Samsung] approached me and said we have this new product... I was like, 'Okay, whatever,' but what has really struck me is that it’s a creative tool that you can actually make stuff with. We live in a world of Photoshop, but we’ve never been able to carry it around with us. My wife and I can work on projects and share it in real time. I’ve really clicked with it, it helps us do what we’ve always done — but we used to do it with scissors and paper and glue."
Is it true that for Romeo + Juliet you made physical moodboards?
"Yes, the original boards were made by collage, literally with paper, scissors, and glue. Now, we can do it electronically and it really works."
You used Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge! and again in Australia, and now you’re using Leo again in The Great Gatsby. Do you prefer to 'reuse' actors?
"Yes, I love long-term relationships with actors, because with really great actors no matter how many layers you peel away, there’s always an undiscovered layer to them. In the work I do, that’s the really thrilling part... and it's a nourishing thing to do."
How did you decide that Tobey Maguire was the right choice for Nick Carraway?
"In my opinion, he was just the best guy for the role."
Why The Great Gatsby, of all novels?
"I was on the Trans-Siberian railway, with a bottle of Australian wine, with the book playing on my earphones, and it was just… exquisite."
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There's been a lot of discussion around actors' media exposure and the impact it has on their careers. For instance, right now Kristen Stewart is attracting a lot of attention for her 'cheating scandal.' How do you feel about using actors who are having major tabloid moments?
"I am blind to all that. It's very simple to me — are they right for the role? If they are, I don’t really care about anything else. I mean, it doesn’t help if something is happening elsewhere, but that waxes and wanes. Some people are very good with dealing with that, others less so, and it comes partly with the work that they do; But again, I don’t care. I’m always open to anyone... if they’re talented."
Having a Jay-Z and Kanye West song in The Great Gatsby trailer was certainly an interesting juxtaposition.
"I can’t go in to too much detail, but I am working with some of the best musical people in the world right now. I’m spending a bit more time working with music, and I can tell you, these are among the greatest artists in the world. They are amazing: I am loving what I’m doing with them."
You’ve had long spells between projects and suddenly, this year, there seems to be an amazing amount of creative output. Why?
"Because my kids have grown up now."
Photo: Wire Image/ Courtesy of Flying Television
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