The trailer for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby is all over the net right now, causing a glut of middlebrow Victoria Coren re-tweeters to talk about what a "fantastic evocation of the hollow reality of fame" it is, while the Beliebers seem to be yapping about how much they hated it and why their ninth grade teacher is a dick for making them read it.
For those of you not in the know (I'm sure a few of you are pretending you read it just to impress a girl), let somebody who has read it (but failed to impress any girls) tell you that essentially it's a book about a man who finds out that mo' money means mo' problems.
Watching the trailer, the first thing you notice is the aesthetic that Luhrmann has gone for. The look, the music, the costumes—they're all straight-up MTV decadence. It looks like an Usher video. But would this have worked better as reality show instead of a big-budget blockbuster? Aren't there people whose lives closely mirror Gatsby's own, almost to the point of parody? Here are five alternative, real-life 2012 Gatsbys they could have cast, and one real-life alternate for each of the supporting characters (because they don't matter as much). If you haven't read the book, or like me, can't remember much of what happened, don't worry, because I've included some inaccurate Wikipedia-plundered character descriptions.
Five Real-Life Great(ish) Gatsbys
A strong contender for the role of our titular anti-hero. He's prone to wearing jazz-age threads, he throws massive parties full of fawning fashion types, and hipsters are fascinated by him. He's also a man who doesn't seem happy with his lot, always trying to deny who he is. Although, judging by this picture, he really needs to work on his era-appropriate footwear if he wants a part in the movie.
One of the key aspects of the book is the mystery surrounding Jay Gatsby. Nobody knows where he made his money, or what he did to become so powerful. And very much the same applies to the man above. Seriously, what was he doing before the age of 40? Nobody really knows; there's hints of Sinitta, Blind Date, and homosexuality, but his entire past appears to have been erased by some Illuminati-type shadowy cabal.
He might not be approaching mogul status yet, but he's definitely got some Fitzgerald-like qualities. First, he likes to party, but clearly doesn't seem to enjoy it much, as anybody who's made it all the way through Take Care will know. Then there's the glitterati's obsession with him and, again, his mysterious background. How did a Canadian child actor end up duetting with French Montana? We may never know, just as we will never truly know who Gatsby is. Lastly... well, he's a miserable bastard, isn't he?
Of course. The eternally eligible, the perennial playa, the life-sentenced lothario. Has ever a man adored by so many seemed so sad? It's just an endless parade of after-parties and shallow women for him, not even Lisa Snowden could capture his heart. I can imagine him standing at the back of the Vanity Fair Oscars party, Robin Williams begging him to dance, his eyes fixated on a green wine bottle in the distance. The most miserable rich guy on the planet?
Our Real-Life Daisy Buchanan
See how convincing she looks in the flapper gear? She's the perfect choice if you ask me. Daisy is the femme fatale of the novel, the woman who captures Gatsby's heart and refuses to give it back. She's portrayed as likable (Kim might have to bust out her acting chops for that), yet vapid (less of a stretch). And she's also supposed to be really, really hot, which Kim is (sorry good taste arbiters, you're only fooling yourselves). She's also got priors with modern Gatsby Yeezy, and much like in the book, I'm pretty sure they haven't had sex yet.
A Real-Life Tom Buchanan
Tom Buchanan is the man that everybody reading the book ends up hating, as he is the philandering brute that Daisy goes for instead of the sensitive and refined Gatsby. And despite being married to a beautiful woman, he goes round shagging girls who work in garages. He is also somewhat of a white supremacist.
A Real-Life Meyer Wolfsheim
Wolfsheim is a dubious associate of Gatsby's, a gambler and most likely a gangster who is said to have fixed the Baseball World Series of 1919. And what kind of a man has the power to do that now? There can only be one contender.
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