Director Baz Luhrmann's upcoming adaption of "The Great Gatsby" is all abuzz in Hollywood, and not just because it promises to be a star-studded film. In addition to actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, the movie's roster includes Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, who will be playing the Jewish character of Meyer Wolfsheim.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" was published in 1925. Set in America during the prosperous Roaring Twenties, the novel explores the many facets of wealth and how prohibition turned bootleggers into millionaires. Major characters include Nick Carraway, a Yale grad and WWI veteran, and Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire with connections to the bootlegging industry. But one of the most interesting characters is a minor one: that of a Jewish man named Meyer Wolfsheim. Described as a gangster and gambler who fixed the World Series, Wolfhseim was clearly based upon the real-life character of Arnold Rothstein.
Fitzgerald's description of Wolfsheim has often been described has anti-Semitic: he is said to have cufflinks made of human molars, a Yiddish accent and pronounced nose hairs. In many ways Wolfsheim is the ultimate "other," being both an object of fascination for Carraway and a source of social discomfort. And this is where another level of interest in Luhrmann's film lies: how will Luhrmann and Bachchan portray Wolfsheim? Check out the official Great Gatsby trailer to get an idea.
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