“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” When author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote those words in one of the perennial literary masterpieces of the 20th Century The Great Gatsby, odds are he didn’t wager on just how prescient those words truly were. Yet here we are, the year 2021 well under way and with four film adaptations under our belts of the fateful intersection that led characters Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan and Nick Carraway to cross paths with one another. And now, according to those Old Sports at The Hollywood Reporter, a fifth adaptation of Gatsby is following the fabled Green Light into our living rooms and onto our television sets.
Courtesy of those salacious bootleggers up on Lakeshore Drive – A+E Studios and ITV Studios America – a new big-budgeted television miniseries adapting The Great Gatsby is en route. Wanna know the kicker, book-hounds? This iteration of the novel that defined a generation is coming at us with the full-fledged support of the Fitzgerald Estate itself, no small shakes. Blake Hazard, great-granddaughter to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda (not to mention a trustee of the Estate proper), has been tapped to act as a consulting producer on the miniseries. Scribe Michael Hirst of The Tudors and Elizabeth fame has been given the daunting task of adapting one of the truly great writers of the last one hundred years. Flop sweats, anyone?
The route the writer and producers are taking on this particular version of The Great Gatsby is a unique one: Plans are for a deep dive and exploration of the 1920’s New York African-American community and the exotic and – dare I say it? – romantic world of jazz that was quickly on its way as a distinct American art form. To that end, Columbia University scholar (and gentleman) William B. Ransford will act as a consultant on the adaptation along with comparative literature and African-American studies very own Farah Jasmine Griffin.
In a statement, Blake Hazard said that she had “long dreamt of a more diverse, inclusive version of Gatsby that better reflects the America we live in, one that might allow us all to see ourselves in Scott’s wildly romantic text. Michael brings a deep reverence for Scott’s work to the project, but also a fearlessness about bringing such an iconic story to life in an accessible and fresh way. I’m delighted to be a part of the project.”
This new version of The Great Gatsby follows on the heels of a crackling and commercially and critically applauded rendition by master filmmaker Baz Luhrmann from 2013 which hit a lot of the same notes that this new iteration seems to be swinging at the fences for. Luhrmann proved that this great American novel can be transposed and tinkered with and it should prove entertaining indeed to see what this new crew of filmmakers can add to an already beautiful and full table. “Repeat the past?” You’d better believe that this scribbler of words is signing on for that particular endeavor!