It might not quite be the Gatsby vs Frankenstein we were holding out for in 2021, but The Tudors’ William Joyce has announced that he’s behind a new, animated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great novel epitomising the American Dream. This marks the first time it will have been animated in the 90-odd years since its publication in 1925, and the first rendition since Luhrmann’s maximalist adaptation of 2013.
Eagerly awaited in literary circles, this year marked the year the novel’s copyright expires — the kinds of adaptations to come, one can only wonder. While we’ve seen plenty of renditions over the years, from Robert Redford’s debonair hero of 1974 to Luhrmann’s 2013 showstopper, its characters have undergone a few transformations and this iteration is sure to be unique.
The new announcement might prove something of a boon now for English Literature teachers covering the material for the nth year in a row. (And even to a Fitzgerald fangirl with Gatsby merch and a battered copy I’ve read 10 times, it sounds like a great idea.) For the first time, students will be able to experience the stories of Daisy, Gatsby and Nick in a format a bit more compatible with online appetites, no doubt watched over by the great Dr T. J. Eckleburg.
DNEG Animation is behind the animation, with Michael Siegel and DNEG Senior VP Creative Production David Prescott producing, and Wonderstruck’s Brian Selznick helming the screenplay. Prescott says:
We are in the perfect time for an animated Gatsby. Viewers of all ages are embracing animation as another way to experience different stories. [We] have been floating a variety of ideas around over the last few years, discussing ideal stories to bring to the screen, and I do feel that ‘The Great Gatsby’ is one such story. The style of animation and imagery we are creating for this project are so beautifully married together.
The time might just be right for a fresh version of The Great Gatsby. After a year resembling the darkness of the early 1920s in so many ways, we might just be headed for a roaring renaissance ourselves – and can heed a word of caution from Fitzgerald.