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Leonardo DiCaprio: I Was ‘Reluctant’ to Play Gatsby

ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) -- Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars as Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann's 3-D version of The Great Gatsby, said he was initially reluctant to be the one to take on the famous role due to all the pressure that comes with it.

“I was reluctant because I think that what's so powerful about this novel is that everyone has their own interpretation of these characters,” DiCaprio said on an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday.

DiCaprio said that the character’s depth has a lot to do with everyone’s personal interpretations.

“I think what people identify with Jay Gatsby is he's the iconic American dreamer. And he's holding onto a relic of the past that is Daisy Buchanan, but she's a mirage and she no longer exists,” DiCaprio explained. “But that's what I became fascinated by in portraying him was his obsession, you know, his obsession and his relentless hope that he could recreate the past, but of course he couldn't.”

The actor said he gained a new appreciation for the character after Luhrmann told him to reread the classic novel.

“I read it in junior high school and it made sense to me. And in my mind it was a sort of traditional love story, and the time period was representative of the roaring 20s and I kind've tapped into Gatsby's obsession,” he said. “But Baz handed me a first edition copy and said, ‘I want to rediscover this novel. And I want to put it up on film. And I want you to re-read it.’ And as an adult, that's what so incredibly powerful about this novel, it takes on a different meaning.”

The Great Gatsby premiers Friday.



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