I don't know how it happened, but after 80 years F. Scott Fitzgerald's seminal novel The Great Gatsby has become the coolest, most talked-about thing in culture.
It has a Kanye soundtrack for God's sake.
Today Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film adaptation of Gatsby, starring Leonardo "I have decided to speak in a very strange half-British accent in all of my movies" DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, released its first trailer, and it's making a big splash.
If you hadn't known the trailer was for a film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, you might have believed it was for Jazz Age: The Ride or Old Timey Costume Party: The Ride. But it's not. It's for The Great Gatsby, and Luhrmann is going to release the film in 3D so we can swoop through 1920s Manhattan like Spiderman and also get motion sickness like Spiderman. But also it might be awesome maybe.
In less than a day this thing has racked up well over 300,000 views:
Luhrmann told MTV recently that he was always a huge fan of the book, but it was in the early 2000s, riding a train through China, that he re-listened to it on audiobook and fell in love with the story all over again.
A similar Gatsby-inspired majesty crept over the creators of Gatz, a long-running and award-winning play from the theatre company Elevator Repair Service, at around the same time. They were so enamored with the book, in fact, that they decided to read it out loud onstage, in its entirety, for over six hours, whether you liked it or not.
Since 2005 Gatz has been slaying critics and wooing audiences the world over. The New York Times has raved about it consistently, calling it a work of "singular imagination and intelligence," and said the magic of the show comes from "that elusive chemistry that takes place between a reader and a gorgeous set of sentences that demand you follow them wherever they choose to go."
Back in April the actor Jim Fletcher, who plays Gatsby in the show, told Huffpost that the power of the book lies in its resistance to immediate interpretation. It's about so many things, he said, to so many people.
"It's ecstatic, it's an ecstatic vision of America, New York City, and yet it's a forward-looking kind of ecstasy," he said. "That really, you still can't, you can't grab it."
But you can reference it! In the past few years, the novel has been mentioned on the Showtime series, Californication, which dedicated an entire episode -- The Great Ashby -- to the book. On Entourage, F. Scott Fitzgerald's favorite show*, Vincent Chase starred as Nick Carraway in a fictional adaptation of the book.
Hell, somebody even created a Nintendo game about the damn thing. You can play it right now by clicking on this sentence. Hurl your strange boomerang at waiters and other partygoers and collect coins as you walk through a glamorous mansion. Go ahead, it's fun.
Certainly The Great Gatsby wasn't an obscure book, by any means. It's one of the most canonical pieces of literature of our time, after all. But it does say something that in the world of Toddlers and Tiaras and Transformers 17 and the upcoming Ouija Board movie, so much fuss and Hollywood money and creativity can still be poured into a classic, multi-layered novel written before the Great Depression.
So whether or not you think F. Scott Fitzgerald is turning over in his grave at the idea of his book being turned into a multimillion-dollar 3D Hollywood epic with a killer soundtrack, you might at least appreciate that it can be.
Perhaps another piece of classic literature will take the reins in the next few years. I call dibs on Anna Karenina: The Ride And Also Movie.
*Entourage is not F. Scott Fitzgerald's favorite show. That I know of.