A new Great Gatsby TV series is in the works
As well as being the ultimate expression of ‘money can’t buy you happiness’, in many ways, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby, is the ultimate depiction of the ‘American Dream’, the aspirational concept that is fundamental to the identity of the United States. So it’s never been more relevant than now – with the arrival of a new President promising a wide-ranging new agenda – one that promotes equality for all, universal healthcare and a green vision.
So it’s wonderful news to hear that the beloved novel is being reimagined for the small screen, with a new television adaptation by Michael Hirst, the man behind other hit period dramas such as TV series The Tudors and the film Elizabeth.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Hirst explained the relevance of the text for a 2021 audience, promising to deliver a more modern take on the subject matter: ‘Today, as America seeks to reinvent itself once again, is the perfect moment to look with new eyes at this timeless story, to explore its famous and iconic characters through the modern lens of gender, race and sexual orientation,’ he said. ‘Fitzgerald’s profoundly romantic vision does not prevent him examining and exposing the darker underbelly of the American experience, which is why the story speaks to both tragedy and hope, and why it continues to resonate today.’
Fitzgerald’s most famous work is narrated by Nick Carraway, who tells the tale of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby, a self-made man who seeks to use his newfound wealth to win the heart of Daisy Buchanan, a former sweetheart who has since married a wealthy man. As well as the central cast of WASPs, there’s also a subplot with a lower class couple, but the novel is known for its lack of diversity, despite being set at the heart of the Jazz Age in New York.
As such, this new version will have English Professor William B. Ransford and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin consulting, helping to bring to life more accurately the city’s Jazz subculture and African American population.
This refreshing approach has got the family approval, with one of Fitzgerald’s great-grandchildren, Blake Hazard, signed on as a consulting producer. She said: ‘I have long dreamt of a more diverse, inclusive version of Gatsby that better reflects the America we live in, one that might allow us all to see ourselves in Scott’s wildly romantic text. Michael brings a deep reverence for Scott’s work to the project, but also a fearlessness about bringing such an iconic story to life in an accessible and fresh way.’
While there is no air date as of yet, it will be shown on ITV in the UK when it does arrive.
Previous adaptations include the seminal 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, as well as the more recent Baz Luhrmann version from 2013, which saw Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in the lead roles of Gatsby and Daisy.
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