If you listen to recordings or newsreels of people speaking to each other during the 1930s and ’40s, they don’t sound like people do today, for the most part. They sound a bit more naive or hee-hawish or more rigid and formal in their phrasings, like they’ve just come out of an elocution class. I’ve heard two or three voice recordings from the ’20s (one of them of Clarence Darrow speaking at the Scopes trial) but I’m presuming it was the same if not more so. A certain starched-shirt, stick-up-your-ass tonality.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire during Sydney-area filming of Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby.
Something tells me you could hear all kinds of tension and constipation and uncertainty in people’s voices back in the days of The Great Gatsby. Mind your manners, know where to put your soup spoon and always dress correctly, etc. The purring be-bop talk of the ’50s (i.e., the way Marlon Brando‘s Johnny spoke in The Wild One) that came out of the post-World War II beats and their struggles to shirk off middle-class uptightness and anxieties was more than 30 years away when Gatsby’s story was happening.
Something also tells me that Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, as Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway, are going to sound like 21st Century guys when they say their lines in Baz Luhrman‘s 3D filmed version. Because they’re not British or RADA-trained, and because they’re native Southern Californians and they both have this way of speaking (particularly Leo) that they want and need, and I can’t imagine them ever sounding like real-deal fellows who lived and side-stepped and clinked champagne glasses 85 years ago. But I do trust that Carey Mulligan, as Daisy Buchanan, will sound exactly right.
And I’m still wondering if Luhrman will have the courage not to go all nutso and wacko with the 3D and just shoot Fitzgerald’s novel more or less straight, and let it be what it is and screw the under-35 ADDs will will (presumably) be twitching in their seats.
Last February the Hollywood Reporter‘s Pip Bulbeck quoted New South Wales (NSW) state government’s Kristina Kenneally projecting that Luhrman’s Gatsby is costing AUD$120 million (USD $118 million), with the shoot expected to last seventeen weeks” (i.e., finishing in early January 2012) “and another thirty weeks to be spent on post-production” or seven months give or take. “A reported 275-person crew will be employed during the pre-production stage with more than 400 cast and crew being employed during principal photography. Another estimated 150 post-production and visual effects crew will also be employed. Filming began on 5 September 2011 at Fox Studios in Sydney.”