Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby': Who should play Daisy?

Great-Gatsby-CastingImage Credit: Insidefoto/PR Photos (2); David Gabber/PR PhotosAnother juicy role for an actress, another giant casting call. This time, the part in question is socialite Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s sure-to-be-snazzy reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The project is already an A-list affair, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire attached to play playboy Jay Gatsby and narrator Nick Carraway, respectively. According to Deadline, Rebecca Hall (The Town) recently read for the role of Daisy, who figures into the story as Nick’s cousin and Jay’s love interest. But Luhrmann wasn’t 100 percent sold and is still looking for a leading lady. His reported short list has plenty of the usual suspects: Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson. And apparently there are a few newbies in the running too, like Abbie Cornish, Blake Lively, and — don’t count her out yet — Hall. So who should get the part?

If memory (and/or SparkNotes) serves, Daisy is a complicated character, alternately worldly and naive, but always alluring. And her voice, in Fitzgerald’s own words is “full of money.” Knightley certainly fits that bill, but is she too British to play such a distinctly American character? Does Lively’s rich girl resumé (see: Gossip Girl) help or hinder her? Go ahead and cast your vote in our poll below — and leave your write-in suggestions in the comments!

Read more:
Baz Luhrmann workshops ‘Great Gatsby’ script with Leo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Rebecca Hall
Baz Lurhmann his next projects: A stage version of ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and a ‘Great Gatsby’ movie

Comments (254 total) Add your comment
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  • Molly M M

    ugh, leo and tobey for real as jay and nick? yuck.

    • Caiti

      Absolutely agreed. That sounds so cheesy. Michelle Williams could save it though.

      • Angeleen

        Michelle Williams could totally save it. I can’t see Leo as Jay either, but I’m hoping he can surprise me, he is pretty talented.

        I don’t like Tobey as Nick. Although since in my opinion no one could do better than Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, so it’s nothing about Tobey and everything about Sam.

      • alex

        Oh! Michelle Williams would be wonderful.. good call Caiti

      • Michael Okoreeh

        actually if you have read the book (and I mean no offense by that) Tobey’s acting suits Nick pretty well.

      • Samantha

        Michelle Williams would be wonderful as Daisy. I think Rachel McAdams could do her justice too. For Nick, I’d rather have Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And I’m over DiCaprio. I’d prefer Chris Pine or Ryan Gosling as Gatsby.

      • Fred

        I think Jennette McCurdy would be the best choice

        -Freddie Benson

      • gigi

        My thoughts exactly!

    • la

      I’m not that impressed with Tobey in the cast, but what do you have against Leo? IMO, he’s always delivered with every one of his performances, and I can see him as Gatsby.
      (Michelle Williams is my choice for Daisy btw)

      • lefty

        For real…get ol’ Tobes outta there

      • Heidi

        I think since Tobey and Leo are such good friends the chemistry will pay off onscreen. Leo has aged very well (he’s actually better looking now than when he was younger). And why wouldn’t they look at Kate Winslet for Daisy? I also like Carey Mulligan for the part as she’s like our modern day Mia Farrow…Michelle Williams is a good choice too.

      • Zach

        Leo hasn’t really aged that well, and I don’t think he fits as the Robert Redford type, even though I’m sure acting-wise he’d be an improvement since Redford was so bland and lacking in charisma in the role as written. Kate would be great as she is in anything. I don’t think Carey Mulligan is anything like Mia Farrow though. Natalie Portman is closest because she’s beautiful but also kind of simple. Knowing Baz Luhrmann’s style, I’d say Amanda Seyfried would fit in quite well, but not as the vain, all-American beauty-type that Daisy is supposed to be. Amanda is always appealing but best when she gets to have an edge. Maybe as that side character, the one Karen Allen played in the original? This could actually be an excellent project for Baz. As for Tobey, he’s good at narrating, and fine in period pieces, but it won’t work if he’s too melodramatic or bland. The protagonist (as well as the Gatsby character) has to be compelling to make this work. That was the problem with the original.

      • Zach

        LOL, sorry, by Karen Allen I meant Karen Black! VERY different! Cheers.

    • Casey

      I had the same reaction. I mean, really? Leo? So not how I pictured Gatsby. I have no opinion on Tobey as Nick. And I hate Daisy with a fiery passion, but Michelle Williams I could definitely see working in the role. Could they possibly work in killing Daisy? (Joking. But that would be SO satisfying…)

      • Heidi

        Someone above suggested Rachel McAdams. She looks great in that flapper hair worn in the original.

      • Casey

        Hmm. I kind of like that. She’s already played bitchy in Mean Girls, so I’m sure she pull off the vapid, annoying Daisy.

      • Fred

        Jennette Mccurdy

      • Molly

        I’d like Rosamund Pike as Daisy.

      • Jane Baker

        LOL Jennette McCurdy…why just not go all the way and get Selena Gomez?
        ROTFLMAO-nice one Fred

    • kynne

      I guess it is too much to expect that Hollywood would go for someone age appropriate instead of a big star. Leo as Gatsby is as bad as the way to old Redford and Farrow back in the seventies version. I love this book and wish someone would do it right.

      • Casey

        Good point. Isn’t Gatsby in his late 20s or something? I adore this book too, it’s one of my favorites. Shame that Hollywood likes to fudge up classic book adaptations.

      • J Lo

        I think Amanda Seyfried would be good, but what about Leighton Meester? She is a much better actress than Blake Lively but she doesn’t get nearly as enough attention.

    • Maddie

      some people suggested Ryan Gosling as Gatsby and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Nick. Thoughts?

      • ?

        Hell yes to Ryan Gosling… no on the J.G.L. (but I do like him).

      • Lily

        That’s a rockin idea, Maddie. Ryan Gosling is an awesome actor and would be an amazing Gatsby. I like Tobey for Nick. Can’t figure out Daisy thought. Amanda Seyfried maybe, or Keira. Difficult choices!

      • ObiHave

        Would rather see Gosling as Nick but I could settle for him as Gatz. Leo and Tobey = totally unispired casting…a fifth grader could have come up with that. I’m rather disappointed Emily Blunt wasn’t a choice.

      • kate

        yes and yes! perfect! but i think williams is too smart to play daisy, you can just see the maturity in her eyes. i think mcadams would be better. what about jordan? i could see emily blunt for that part or knightley. someone with a little bite

    • henrietta

      Michelle Williams would work, perhaps…Scarlett J. and Kate Winslet both too ripe, IMO…don’t forget the time period of this novel…Daisy was certainly “of the moment” and considered the quintessence of flapper fashion; Daisy embodied all that fitzgerald adored and aspired to in the heady world of the 1920s monied set. From a physical standpoint, Daisy needs to be relatively flat-chested, with huge doe eyes and sculpted cheekbones, and Fitzgerald referred more than once to the transparency of her delicate skin. For these reasons I think Amanda Seyfried would not work…basically Mia Farrow was just so very perfect, in every regard. 30 years ago meryl streep would have been ideal; though she wasn’t fine-boned and tiny, she possessed the acting chops to convince us that she was. This should be an interesting contest!

    • Suzanne

      how about Vincent Chase for Nick?

    • welshgirl

      I think Leo as Gatsby is actually the only way it could go. Tobey as Nick, maybe not so much – Jake G. would have been interesting.

      • Sara

        I couldn’t agree more. Leo is the most talented actor of his generation.

  • dlys14

    What about Reese Witherspoon?

    • Really?


  • dk

    Bridget Regan – like to see her get a well-deserved breakout role!

  • Jobless

    I voted for Abbie Cornish. None of the “big names” seem like good choices to portray such an iconic and complex character. Love the casting for Nick Carroway and Gatsby though.

    • lefty

      she rubs me the wrong way.

  • mary q contrary

    Anybody but Rebecca Hall. Her face is too masculine. I’m not always a fan, but sometimes Keira Knightley is perfectly cast (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice), and I think she would make a terrific Daisy.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    I like the casting for Nick and Gatsby, not so sure on Daisy though…

  • Lisa Simpson

    Don’t care. Luhrmann is a terrible director, so I won’t bother going to see his latest cinematic desecration.

    • Katja

      LOL my reaction was kind of the opposite of yours. I really hated The Great Gatsby in school, but I was just thinking to myself that maybe Baz Lurhmann could get me to appreciate it – I absolutely love Moulin Rouge and especially Strictly Ballroom.

    • therealeverton

      Have to agree with Katja, I am not a Fitzgerald fan at all and was thinking if anyone could make this film cinematically intriguing and interesting it is Baz. Leo and Tobey are class actors too so it’s good to see them cast.

      (That’s not a knock on Clayton movie from 1974, although I’m not a huge fan of that either.)

      I’m not sure how iconic many of the characters are to 21st century cinemagoers(?) Especially outside the US where Baz’s film have much more pull.

    • Lisa Simpson

      Katja & therealeverton – I respect that, though I’ve found that the two movies of Luhrmann’s I have seen (Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge) were dragged down by the weight of too much style and not enough substance. I also find him overly sentimental, which I think would detract from the story of Gatsby.

      • therealeverton

        Cool, You really should watch Strictly Ballroom though.

        The sentimentality of his films is often raised, sometimes as a criticism others as a plus point so I can certainly respect that opinion, even if it isn’t a concern for me, possibly with the exception of Australia. However I don’t get, and never have, the style over substance critique of his Romeo & Juliet; mainly because the style was such an important part of the film. The mise-en-scene the camera work, the lighting,costumes, all of it was intended and necessary to bring the story of Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare’s prose intact, to a modern audience. It was brave moviemaking and the substance took care of itself, it’s Shakespeare; the presentation was key. I’ve always accepted that it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste but whenever I hear comments about the style being too important I scratch my head. :)

        Again thx for something better than “you don’t agree with me = you’re idiots .. blah blah insult…”

      • Lisa Simpson

        Thanks for your reply, real (may I shorten your moniker to that?). My criticism of his R+J is that he was so focused on the style that he and his actors seemed to miss the meaning of a lot of Shakespeare’s lines. It’s been many years since I’ve seen it, so I can’t cite examples, but I remember thinking many times while watching the movie that the line readings were just wrong.

        (And people who don’t agree with me aren’t idiots, just wrong. Kidding! The world would be boring if everyone agreed with me all the time, or with anyone else.)

      • Mr. Holloway

        Every time I’ve seen his “Romeo + Juliet” I like it more.

        You’re absolutely right in that it’s all about the presentation. I think it’s a brilliant re-imagining in the truest sense of the word…but I also completely understand how some people hate it.

      • Mads

        This is the first real conversation I have seen on EW. Congrats for discussing your opinions like mature adults.

      • Lisa Simpson

        Mr. H (please let me call you Josh; it will make for such pleasant dreams tonight), I understand why a lot of people like his R+J. I thought it was interesting what he did with the setting and his attempt to relate it to a younger generation. I really wanted to like it, but I thought he did a terrible job with the actors. Too many of the line readings were off, as if the director misunderstood them. It felt like a bad community theater performance with expensive sets and costumes.

        I gave Luhrmann another chance with Moulin Rouge after it was recommended by some people I trust, but I thought it was a maudlin mess. He’s just not the director for me.

      • zee

        but isn’t sentimental a big part of the story, frankly i think Jay’s an idiot but hey who am i to talk, i cried when i read the book (and by the way did not bother to watch the movie)coz for u to understand Jay u have to be sentimental and i love Mouline Rouge so i don’t have a problem with Baz

  • Lio

    Oh no…are they really making Gatsby into a movie…again

  • Gavin

    In my mind, this is definitely a race between Michelle Williams and Amanda Seyfried. The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel, and I can picture both of them as Daisy.

    • Suzanne

      Amanda Seyfried just seems too young. I don’t see her with Leo Dicaprio at all. Michelle Williams would be much better.

  • tvgirl48

    Michelle Williams and Amanda Seyfried are great, but I don’t think people should be so down on Keira Knightley. I think she’s proved that she’s more than just a gorgeous face – she really can act.

    • Mother Nature

      She can surely act, but may have a bad time with an American accent, esp. that particular one.

    • Jess

      completely agree with you on knightley..she certainly has the acting chops and can carry the film along with leo and leo and keira would be a dream on the big screen!!

  • Sean S.

    Anne Hathaway?

    • Mr. Holloway

      Seconded! Love me some Anne Hathaway.

      • Dave

        I always pictured her as Jordan Baker. But I also can’t help but think that Keira would be an incredible Jordan also.

      • Julia

        Keira as the sneaky, sporty, ultimately vulnerable Jordan would be great.

      • henrietta

        @Dave – ITA on Anne Hathaway as Jordan Baker – perfect! I actually think Keira could do Daisy some justice – she’s certainly got the physical bit of it down…and I think she’s a better actress than apparently many people do. Don’t forget that Vivien Leigh did a killer American (Southern) accent in GWTW, and I think Knightley might be up to it. IMO the role of Daisy requires a truly impressive and skilled actress; Daisy is basically a shallow, self-absorbed and flighty girl with very few redeeming qualities who is also capable of bringing men to their knees, so to speak. Keira could certainly embody these qualities! Amanda Seyfried? Again, too lush and almost too astonishingly beautiful, without much mystery behind those eyes.

    • Chris P.

      I completely support this. Anna Hathaway FTW!

      • Julia

        Anne Hathaway communicates too much good-at-heartness and sincerity and earnestness, none of which Daisy has. Even in her “break out” role Rachel Getting Married, all of the above was true.

      • tracy bluth

        I personally think Anne Hathaway nailed the “icy blonde” part with some of her scenes in Brokeback Mountain. Although I would probably first picture her as Jordan, I’m sure she could be a great Daisy. She’s a fantastic actress.

    • Suzanne

      So much teeth. How about Emily Blunt instead? And she looks more like a sibling to Tobey Mcguire too.

      • henrietta

        oooh, emily blunt – that is reeeeally interesting. Fabulous actress, terrific at playing snooty, bored, monied girls, in this case one who can run over a person w/her car and then nonchalantly watch her lover take the blame for it..great suggestion! And needless to say she’d nail the accent in a split second. In the book Daisy is just 23; don’t know how old Blunt is but she could definitely pull off a youngish 20.

  • Kate

    Out of these actresses, Michelle Williams seems like the only one who could step outside of her name to play the part. How about Kristen Bell? I could easily see her playing the complex part…

    • AB

      You’re missing the fact that Bell can’t act.

      • Tank Girl

        She definitely not strong enough for a role like Daisy.

  • Liz

    Blake Lively looks the part but, and I’m sorry to be nitpicky, her voice is NOT “full of money.” None of the above IMO. How about Katheryn Winnick, presently playing Hannah on Bones?

    • Elmer

      yes. a no to Blake Lively. She doesn’t have the talent. Also, I think I might be the only person that finds her extremely unattractive… she has a very manly face. Daisy is gorgeous but shallow.

    • Liz

      No, I see what you mean about her face.

      I changed my mind–how about Emilie de Ravin as Daisy?

      • tracy bluth

        Emilie de Ravin would be great!

  • tracy bluth

    Amanda Seyfried, while very talented, is too young. Scarlett Johansson, well, besides “Lost in Translation” I haven’t been impressed by any of her performances. Abbie Cornish and Michelle Williams are my choices.

    • Reena

      I agree I really hope they dont choose Scarlett I dont think she is as good an actress as everyone makes her out to be Abbie or Michele would be a great choice or maybe just maybe Blake Lively but thats a long shot

      • tracy bluth

        I do think Blake Lively has potential…I’ve been impressed by all her performances outside of Gossip Girl. However, I still think she’s a bit too young.

    • Kevin

      If I remember correctly, Daisy is only about 25.

      • Ktct

        Yup, she’s 23.

      • tracy bluth

        Are you sure? Huh. I always thought she was in her late 20s. And her daughter isnt’ her daughter three or four?

      • Julia

        Yes, Blake L. would be the ideal age. They are all just starting out in life, even if they are gazillionaires.

      • Julia

        And Blake Lively is about 24 now. By the time the film is shot, she could definitely play any mid-20s age.I could see her getting steely and determined after the car crash and letting her money and man clean up the disaster for her.

  • Ktct

    Claire Danes.

    • Ktct

      Though, I guess, on thought, she is too old.

      • Samantha

        Claire is a good choice though. Better than half the names listed.

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