A roaring good show: nice work Baz, old sport28/09/2018 - Author: admin
The great and the good: Baz Luhrmann with cast members. Photo: Marco Del Grande Big chill: Barry Otto and Jack Thompson at the premiere. Photo: Danielle Smith
In New York they draped feather boas from crystal chandeliers at The Plaza hotel, in Cannes they sipped Moet under an art-deco dome overlooking the Cote d’Azur, but it was in Sydney that Baz Luhrmann really let his hair down.
On Wednesday night the red carpet snaked its way through Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter for the Australian premiere of Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the final stop in a two-week global promotional campaign.
Despite the chill and wet, with a guest list of 1200, the Sydney premiere and after party eclipsed those in New York and Cannes.
Dancers dressed as flappers shivered through the Charleston and champagne flowed as the VIP guests, who ranged from Delta Goodrem and Ricky Martin to Kate Ritchie and Ita Buttrose, made their way down the ruby pile.
For just one night, New York in the Roaring Twenties had been re-created in Sydney, complete with jazz bands, dancers hoisting giant bottles of Moet and models dressed as elegant flappers dripping in Tiffany diamonds.
At the after-party, guests were greeted with a 10-metre Moet champagne tower, a replica of the
one featured at Gatsby’s hedonistic parties. In all 700 magnums were on hand to keep the guests watered. Guests included Barry O’Farrell, Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch, Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Barry Otto, Seal, Skye Leckie and Ryan Stokes.
It was a way for Luhrmann to thank the city in which he created Gatsby, a $180 million production, underwritten by taxpayers to the tune of $40 million, but which had managed to keep Sydney’s struggling film industry ticking over.
It had also provided one of the greatest celebrity conga-lines Sydney has seen in years, with daily sightings of Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio filling gossip columns for weeks, from his late-night partying to cruising on the harbour with a bevvy of beauties. Notoriously camera-shy during his four months in Sydney, DiCaprio lived life to the full, just as his character Jay Gatsby does on screen.
However DiCaprio was missing from the Sydney premiere, having pulled out at the 11th hour citing a ”scheduling change”, only to have been spotted in a Cannes nightclub.
The absence of DiCaprio, who reportedly earned $12 million, was evident among the media pack covering the red carpet, but also resulted in co-stars, including Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Thompson and Joel Edgerton being able to bathe in the limelight.
Luhrmann, and his creative collaborator wife Catherine Martin, hired events supremo Tony Assness to recreate Jay Gatsby’s West Egg party mansion. Assness used many of the props, costumes and sets featured in the film which had been created by Martin, following years of researching the period.
And while some critics have savaged Lurhmann’s take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, the film has knocked off spectaculars such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness in box office. As Luhrmann arrived at the premiere it emerged The Great Gatsby had taken $135 million worldwide, and on track to eclipse Moulin Rouge!, Strictly Ballroom and Australia as Luhrmann’s most successful film in his 22-year-career yet.
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