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Isla Fisher Thought Her ‘Great Gatsby’ Aesthetic Was ‘Too Much’ Even for Baz Luhrmann

Her fears were quickly assuaged when she saw the film's maximalist sets.

Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher

Getty Images

Hollywood history is filled with controversial literary adaptations, but Baz Luhrmann’s take on “The Great Gatsby” ranks up there with the best of them. His take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work polarized audiences, with some viewing it as blasphemous and others seeing it as a timely update of a classic novel.
In a new interview with Now to Love, Isla Fisher, who played Myrtle in the film, reflected on the experience of working with Luhrmann.
“Baz is the greatest,” Fisher said. “He is just magical. You can’t compare Baz to anyone. He is dressed to the nines at all times, regardless of the weather, carrying a porcelain teacup filled with tea. His grasp of language and story and his visual sensibility — the way he approaches material, the way he uses music, the way he engages you — is so seductive. He is just pure creative talent.”
The film was notable for its flashy costume design, to the point where Fisher even wondered if her outfits were too much even for Luhrmann. But her fears were assuaged when she walked on set and saw the entirety of his vision take shape.
“I’d read the book a thousand times,” she said. “It was one of those books where, every time I read it, I felt like I learnt something new. Then I showed up on set and I got into my costume and I remember we were putting the wig on my character, Myrtle, and I was thinking, ‘I’m too much, I’m too much’. But then I saw the sets and I was like, ‘No, I’m not too much at all.’”
Luhrmann brought his aesthetic back to cinemas this year with “Elvis.” But while the controversial biopic has divided audiences with its maximalist take on Elvis Presley’s life story, Luhrmann recently revealed that his four-hour extended cut of the film has the potential to be even crazier.
“I would have liked to lean into some of the other things more. There’s so much more. I mean, there’s lots of stuff that I shot like the relationship with the band, I had to pare [that] down, and it’s so interesting how the Colonel [Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks] gets rid of them,” Luhrmann said. “What happens is he starts doing wackadoo things, like going down to see Nixon. I had it in there for a while but there just comes a point where you can’t have everything in, so I just tried to track the spirit of the character.”

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