The anointment of Joel Edgerton as a freshly minted A-lister looks to be complete. The Australian actor seemed to be on the brink of something for a decade, but 2011 may be the year in which the stars align: his small, but pivotal role in “Animal Kingdom” last year kicked off a string of new gigs, including the male lead in the prequel/reboot/preboot of “The Thing,” opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the co-lead opposite Jennifer Garner in “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” and starring across from Tom Hardy in MMA drama “Warrior,” a film that’s picked up major buzz from early screenings, with some even whispering that it could be an awards contender.
Recent weeks have seen him linked with films like “The Bourne Legacy” and “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and landing the lead in Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Kill Bin Laden,” while over the weekend, Edgerton and fellow rising star Luke Evans (“Tamara Drewe“) were said to be competing for Tom Buchanan, the role that Ben Affleck recently vacated in Baz Luhrmann‘s 3D version of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s “The Great Gatsby.” And, as we predicted, Edgerton that landed it, Deadline reported this evening.
Luhrmann told the site, “In casting Tom one had to find an actor who could credibly be (as Fitzgerald describes him) ‘one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven,’ had five-star acting chops and in the big dramatic showdown scenes between Gatsby and Tom, hold the screen against Leonardo DiCaprio, in the appropriate age group. Any wonder, it has been a long and thorough journey. The simple truth is that Joel came into our rehearsal space in New York and fulfilled all of the above criteria, and then some.”
For those who haven’t read the book, Tom Buchanan is the wealthy, racist husband of Daisy Buchanan, the long time love of the novel’s anti-hero Jay Gatsby. Edgerton joins DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as the novel’s narrator Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy, Isla Fisher as Buchanan’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson, and Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker, Nick’s love interest.
There’s one more major role to be cast: George Wilson, Myrtle’s cuckolded husband, and we’d expect to see that filled fairly quickly, and likely with as impressive a name as those assembled already; we might not like the idea of Luhrmann’s 3D take on ‘Gatsby,’ but you can’t deny he’s assembled a stellar cast. Filming begins in July in Australia, and we imagine we’ll see this in theaters for the 2012 awards season.