Reportedly, director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) was considering every "gorgeous actress in her twenties" from Scarlett Johansson to Blake Lively to play Daisy Buchanan in his new adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Now speculation can cease. Earlier this week, Lurhmann announced his choice: Carey Mulligan, the 25-year-old Oscar-nominated star of An Education and Never Let Me Go. Mulligan apparently got the call while walking the red carpet at a fashion event and promptly broke into tears. While some critics and commentators are also weeping with joy, others have entered a Gatsby-esque funk. Can Mulligan pull off the role of Daisy?
Yes. She's a talented, versatile actress: "Though playing the shallow, airy Daisy... will be a role unlike any she's done," says Moira Macdonald in The Seattle Times, "I think this is potentially terrific casting." From her "wonderful performance" in Never Let Me Go to the way she "beautifully" aged before our eyes in An Education, Mulligan has demonstrated her ability to tackle diverse roles. And, her reaction to landing the role was perhaps the "most perfect... ever."
"Carey Mulligan = Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby"
No. Though lovable, she looks too young: While I love Carey Mulligan, I'm not "quite convinced that she checks all of the boxes necessary to nail Daisy Buchanan," says Megan Gibson in Time. While Mulligan's beauty is childlike, Daisy calls for someone — perhaps Sienna Miller? — with a more "womanly look." Daisy is also supposed to be seductive, and, again, "Mulligan's youthful look works against her." Still, I'm "hoping that Mulligan will prove [me] wrong."
"Carey Mulligan as Gatsby's Daisy Buchanan? Let's think this one over"
It doesn't matter — the film will be a mess: "Clearly Mulligan has the look of a blue-blood American princess circa 1922, and might well be able to project the doomed melancholy of that era," says DJ Pangburn at Death and Taxes. It's not casting that worries me, though; it's Luhrmann's directing. "Fitzgerald's storytelling is layered and nuanced in all the ways" that Luhrmann, who names Italian Opera as a major influence, is not." Not even Mulligan can "rescue the film from Luhrmann's aesthetic overload."
"Carey Mulligan as Daisy in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- Why charity can't solve society's deepest problems
Subscribe to the Week