During an interview with “Good Morning America,” the Oscar-nominated actor admitted he wasn’t sure at first if he would take the role of Jay Gatsby.
“I was reluctant … what’s so powerful about this novel is everyone has their own interpretation of these characters,” the “Inception” star added while discussing his role in the latest film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby."
The novel has resonated with DiCaprio ever since he first read it in school.
“I read it in junior high school and it made sense to me," he said. "It was representative of the roaring twenties, [Baz Luhrmann, the director] handed me a first edition copy, and as an adult, it takes on a different meaning. It’s really an existential novel."
The Internet Movie Database describes Baz Luhrmann's film in this way: "A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.” But there’s so much more to the story.
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There’s the allure of the American dream, the unspoken struggle between old money and nouveau riche, betrayal, murder and the undying power of true love, to name a few.
Hollywood had previously brought Fitzgerald's classic to the big screen in 1974, when Robert Redford and Mia Farrow famously starred in a film directed by Jack Clayton.
Luhrmann’s version, starring DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire, features a modern soundtrack filled with pop and hip-hop even though the film is set in the 1920s, when jazz was all the rage.
Isla Fisher, who plays Myrtle Wilson, told the Wall Street Journal that the music helps keep the movie “fresh.”
“I think it was brilliant. I think [Luhrmann] made it modern and fresh and by doing all that music it keeps it alive and relevant,” Fischer said. ” I think Jay-Z did a phenomenal job. And that one song by Lana Del Rey ["Young and Beautiful"], it always makes me cry. I don’t know if it’s because I am aging, but it’s just so moving. I love that song.”