Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Gatsby Cannes: Director Baz Luhrmann Says He Never Got Good Reviews


The Cannes press conference for The Great Gatsby was more interesting for what wasn’t said than what was going on: beefy bodyguards for Leonardo DiCaprio stood at the edge of the stage. One of them filmed the audience of reporters and photogs with his iPhone. DiCaprio, center on the dais among the cast, drank espresso and some kind of fizzy water. The press, which did not applaud at all after this morning’s screening, seemed as muted as their reaction to the actors as they did to the movie.

Director Baz Luhrmann said he didn’t really worry about the mixed reviews. “I’ve never had great reviews,” he said. He said that he and DiCaprio had not totally given up the idea of making the epic
Alexander. “We even have a studio built for it, by Dino DeLaurentiis.” It was a film that never came to fruition.

DiCaprio looked a little bored. The one time he lit up was when he mentioned the great US box office from this past weekend. He must be tired of doing press for this movie already.

The one real highlight of the press conference was the appearance of Chaz Ebert, widow of Roger Ebert. Several of us jumped up when she walked in, and there were a lot of hugs.

“Don’t make me cry,” she said.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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