Why couldn’t The Great Gatsby be a woman? For my final presentation I will present an artwork of Jay Gatsby as a woman lead. Of course Fitzgerald’s book is a classic and I wouldn’t change anything about it but if we could, why not make the lead a woman? Imagine having Daisy Fay as our Great Gatsby and Jay Gatsby as our love interest. The story would be the same but it would most definitely have a different overall vibe. No one, especially no one back then would expect a woman to be rich and by herself as Gatsby was. But wouldn’t it be an interesting story to unfold. Imagine this, Daisy Fay and Jay Gatsby were together back then and they split because Daisy was inheriting a large sum of money and Gatsby couldn’t handle not being as wealthy as his significant other. Gatsby then ends up marrying a rich woman anyway and who is he living across from, Miss Daisy Fay. And then the story unfolds the same way as it does in the book with the roles of Daisy and Gatsby reversed. The name of the book would be something around The Fabulous Fay, this is because Daisy’s maiden name is said to be Fay. This story would be a change from the typical man leading roles. For my artwork I was thinking of recreating the champagne meme but with Daisy instead of Jay. Or I also thought of making a new and improved trailer for The Fabulous Fay that looks similar to that of The Great Gatsby but with minor changes.
For my next entry we are switching gears…kind of. For my next unit project I made a trailer for The Jazz Age. I will be researching and making connections between The Great Gatsby and The Jazz Age. The Great Gatsby was set during the time of the Jazz Age, so it won’t be too hard to connect the two. There are many articles that discussed representation of the Jazz Age in The Great Gatsby. Below you will see my video introducing you to The Jazz Age.
After looking through all the different characters of The Great Gatsby and comparing the 1974 and 2013 films, there’s one question I need to answer. Who did it best? The two films had many similarities to each other but there were also some major character differences at times. This could be a little bias because I’ve only seen the 1974 film once but I have seen the 2013 film multiple times. But usually remakes of movies aren’t better than the original but in this case and in my opinion the 2013 version is better. The 2013 version was better with its depictions of each character. Of course both films strayed away from the book descriptions a little but I enjoy when the movie differs from the book. Usually I don’t like movies that come from a book that I have read because things are adjusted to make the story more interesting but in this case, I feel like both movies go with the book well and each have their own uniqueness to them. I will say that the 1974 Jordan Baker did fit the description more from the book but she looked a lot like Daisy’s character which could confuse you. I think that is why the 2013 film Jordan Baker had a completely different look so that it was clear she was the sporty best friend of Daisy. Overall I enjoyed doing this blog about the different characters and it was nice seeing how different but similar the characters were from the book and the two films.
Our next character is the one and only Jay Gatsby/James Gatz. Our main character of The Great Gatsby. The two names are of course because his real name is James Gatz but he changes it to Jay Gatsby. In the book he is described as tan skin, short hair, deeply flawed, dishonest and vulgar. And we expect Gatsby to be a handsome man as well. In the 1974 film Jay Gatsby was played by Robert Redford. I would say Redford played the role of Gatsby well and also fits the description quite well. He is handsome and has the short hair and tan skin. The 2013 film Jay Gatsby was played by Leonardo DiCaprio. He is what I call “the people’s Gatsby.” This is because nowadays when we think of The Great Gatsby, most people think of DiCaprio when he played the role. DiCaprio played the role very well and his looks definitely played a part and helped him as well. When people think of The Great Gatsby most people think of the champagne glass scene where DiCaprio is lifting his glass and we are introduced to him. The actors who have played Gatsby all have a similar look to each other as well which hasn’t been the case for many other characters. As you can see in the pictures Redford and DiCaprio have a few similarities in looks. I feel like in a way, Gatsby’s character could be unlikable to some readers or watchers because he is holding on to the Daisy he met in the past and expects her to drop everything and be with him. But he was also getting mixed signals from Daisy so that could be part of the reason why he was trying so hard. I personally liked Gatsby’s character because although he was involved in some sketchy activities, for some reason I felt that he had good intentions. But the fact that only Nick and Gatsby’s father were the only ones that attended his funeral, it makes me think he either had a lot of fake friends or possibly his intentions weren’t that good.
Before we get to Jay Gatsby we first will look at his shady business partner. Although he wasn’t the most important character in the book or really at all, Meyer Wolsheim is actually listed as a character in the character list of The Great Gatsby. He is described as a 50 year old man, who is a small flat-nosed Jew. He also has a large head wth small eyes and long noticeable nose hair. In the 1974 film Meyer Wolsheim was played by actor Howard Da Silva. In the 2013 film Meyer Wolsheim is portrayed by actor Amitabh Bachchan. Both actors look very different from one another, this is probably due to the fact that this specific character isn’t as important as the other characters. The 1974 actor is a half-bald boss looking man but doesn’t seem like he fits the character description well. As for the 2013 actor, he has more of that gangster look and even dresses more like a gangster. He also has the flat nose from the character description. You can see this in the pictures below, the major differences between the two actors. Wolfsheim seemed to be a bigger character in the 2013 version. This is a mysterious and dangerous character in the story. From what we hear from Meyer Wolsheim, we can assume that either him and his friends are criminals or they know a lot of criminals. This could also lead us to believe that Gatsby is some type of criminal or doing some type of criminal activities because he is friends with Wolsheim.
Our next character that we will talk about is George B. Wilson. In the book and film, George Wilson is married to Myrtle Wilson. Nick describes him as a blond, light blue-eyed, spiritless man who is faintly handsome. He also is well aware his wife is unfaithful and basically lives in her shadow. George is a minor character in the novel and doesn’t have much purpose until the final chapters of the story. In the 1974 film George B. Wilson is played by Scott Wilson. And in the 2013 film the character is played by Jason Clarke. I felt like the two characters portrayed George Wilson well. If you look at the pictures above or below, you will see many similarities between the two George’s. This is actually an uncommon thing for the films but they were both pretty spot on when it came to how we assumed George would look. He doesn’t say much and it’s almost like he actually is just a shadow. In the films, they also made sure to give him a messier look compared to all of the other characters. As I mentioned, George’s character became more relevant in the final chapters of the book. Because as we know, his wife is killed by someone in a yellow car and although he knows she had an affair going on, he wanted revenge for that and whoever killed her. He had assumed that whoever drove the yellow car had to also be the one Myrtle was having an affair with. George Wilson is the character that ends up killing Gatsby. He then proceeded to kill himself as well.
Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby is described as beautiful, blonde, physical, athletic, tan and angular. Jordan also plays golf and seems to be really good at it. This may be a little confusing once you watch the films because we see that Jordan actually has dark hair while Daisy is the blonde. The 1974 Jordan Baker, has lighter hair than the 2013 Jordan but despite this difference, Jordan looks like what we could imagine her to look like. Her and Daisy have undeniable beauty and of course dress the part as well. Jordan is Daisy’s best friend and she is also in a “situationship” with Nick Carraway, our narrator. Going back to Jordan being a golfer, we learn from Nick that he recognizes her because she cheated in her first golf tournament she played in and she also bends the truth a lot. Jordan is an important side character because she is there for every event as well. It made me think of the possibility of getting the story from Jordan’s perspective. In the 1974 film, Jordan Baker is portrayed by Lois Chiles. And in the 2013 film Jordan is portrayed by Elizabeth Debicki. These two do a great job of showing us what Jordan looks and acts like in real life. Elizabeth Debicki even won the AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the 2013 film. Jordan Baker was mostly there to be Daisy’s sidekick while Nick was Gatsby’s. And of course the two sidekicks had their thing going on as well. Both actresses did a great job at portraying Jordan and I didn’t have much a problem with Jordan’s character because I felt like she wasn’t relevant enough to really base opinions on.
In The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan is described as someone who is powerfully built, a bully, physically pleasing but also aggressive and violent. And let’s not forget he is very wealthy. Tom is not a likable character and as the story goes on, he doesn’t get much better. We would expect Tom to look like someone who is rich and seems to only cares about themselves. In the 1974 film, Tom Buchanan is played by Bruce Dern and the 2013 actor was Joel Edgerton. Although our two Tom’s look different, I feel like they both are great representations of what we imagined Tom to look like. They both were able to capture that aspect of being a terrible husband, rude and disrespectful towards just about everyone. But one thing about the Tom’s is that they have the look of someone who was possibly sweet at first but after you get comfortable they show you their real side. In the images above and below, you are able to see the main differences in the Tom’s but for some reason, they both make sense. I will say the 2013 Tom does have more of an abusive husband/person look than the 1974 Tom which is what we would look for because we know that Tom punched Myrtle in the face at one point. The 1974 Tom has more of a crazy look, like he would be the type to be made if he found out his wife was cheating on him, even though he has been having an affair since they’ve been married. Both Tom’s were great representations of what we could’ve imagined while reading the book and they might’ve played their roles so well that people still don’t like them today.
Our next TGG character that we will be looking at is Myrtle Wilson. In the book she is described as a woman in her mid-30s who is plain and stout. She doesn’t meet beauty standards but she does have something special about her and according to Nick, she easily takes over a room. Above and below you will see pictures of the 1974 and 2013 Myrtle Wilson’s. The film from 1974 cast Karen Black as Myrtle and based off looks and acting, I feel like this was a perfect actress for the role at that time. If you were to compare her character to Daisy, you would get where that comment about her not meeting beauty standards would come from. But on the other hand she looks like a fun and more enjoyable person to be around. In the 2013 film, Isla Fisher played Myrtle Wilson. I feel like for this film, they didn’t try as hard to make Myrtle look like what we as readers had in our minds. Because this film is more modern, this Myrtle is a little less fun and enjoyable and a fits into more of the beauty standards from back then. Despite having the red hair. The way Myrtle dressed was also significant. We see Daisy and Jordan in white dresses and they seem classier. While Myrtle is in brighter colors such as red and pink. I guess this is what makes her look “less classier” than Daisy. Because of course in the book and the films, we were supposed to see Daisy’s beauty and Myrtles personality. That’s the difference between the two, Daisy was simply beautiful and looked good next to Tom, while Myrtle actually had some type of personality that entertained others.
Nick Carraway is our narrator for this entire story. He is the source of all of the dramatic events, parties, tragedies, etc. that we hear about in the book. The character description that Nick gives himself is someone who doesn’t pass judgment on others, is tolerant as well as honest. Nick earned a spot in this amazing novel because he is Daisy’s cousin and later on Gatsby’s sidekick. While reading this book, our own interpretations of Nick would be him having that innocent look and naive looking as well. The pictures below show the actors that played Nick in the 1974 and 2013 Great Gatsby movies. It’s quite interesting to see how well actors/actresses are casted in these movies because although these two films are 39 years apart, they both do such a great job of showing us what Nick would look like in real life. In my personal opinion the 2013 Nick Carraway is a better representation of the character just because of the idea of Nick that I had in my head. There are many similar features I see in the 2013 Nick and my own version of Nick that I came up with in my head while reading the book. The 1974 Nick is not too bad as well. He too has a naive and innocent look and great style of course. I used to think that Nick’s character was only relevant because he was the narrator of the story but there is more to him than just being Daisy’s cousin or Gatsby’s sidekick. He is the middleman of this entire operation. He is the eyes and the ears of this story. It’s important when making these movies to make the reader/watcher feel like they are actually seeing all of the events from the book take place in the film. The 1974 and 2013 movies did a great job in showing us the shy yet honest sidekick Nick that we read about in the book.