Baz Luhrmann's $125 Milllion 'The Great Gatsby' Begins Production in Sydney

 Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company

SYDNEY -- The high-octane cast of The Great Gatsby, led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, has gathered in Sydney for the start of production of Baz Lurhmann’s 3D adaptation of the American classic this week.

The two leads will be joined by Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki, Luhrmann said Wednesday.

DiCaprio stars in the title role as Jay Gatsby, with Maguire as Nick Carraway. Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan appear as Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Bachchan will play the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, Fisher and Clarke are cast as Myrtle and George Wilson. Debicki will play Jordan Baker.

Production on the AUS$120 million ($126 million) feature got underway at Fox Studios Australia on Monday with sound stages and locations in Sydney to be transformed into glittering Jazz Age New York and Long Island.

Warner Bros Pictures, which is backing the film, said Luhrmann will “create his own distinctive visual interpretation of the classic story, bringing the period to life in a way that has never been seen before."

That includes, according to local reports, shipping in a fleet of vintage cars, for the shoot from Volo Auto Museum in Illinois, including a pair of 1929 Duesenbergs and a 1929 Packard, to be used by DiCaprio's character and rumored to be worth up to $3 million each.

For his part, Luhrmann, who is directing as well as co-writing, co-producing and co-designing through his Bazmark Films shingle, said, “Fitzgerald’s story defies time and geography. The vision and the goal of our remarkable cast and creatives is to do justice to the deftness of Fitzgerald’s telling, and illuminate its big ideas and humanity. This is our challenge and our adventure.”

“The opportunity to make the film in Australia with the Bazmark creative team is very important to us; the assistance from Screen Australia and the [New South Wales] Government has made that possible,” he added.

The feature will reportedly qualify for the Australian government’s producer offset that gives a rebate of up to 40% of a features budget on qualifying Australian productions. The NSW state government has provided financing under its enhanced film investment fund.

Luhrmann is producing, along with Catherine Martin, Catherine Knapman, Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick. The executive producers are Barrie M. Osborne and Bruce Berman.

Lurhmann has written the screenplay, from F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, with longtime writing partner Craig Pearce, while his collaborator, and wife, Catherine Martin is doing production and costume design.

The editors are Jason Ballantine, Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond, and the director of photography is Simon Duggan.

Filming will take place over 17 weeks, with over 400 cast and crew estimated to take part, with another 30 weeks to be spent on post-production,  also to be done in Sydney.

The film will be distributed in 3D and 2D by Warner Bros. Pictures and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

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