Luhrmann with Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of The Great Gatsby.The film world often wonders how Baz Luhrmann’s mind works as he creates movies as hyperkinetic as Moulin Rouge, Australia and now The Great Gatsby.
It must be awash with images.
In a private moment before the Great Gatsby opening, the Australian director said a popular rumour that he is dyslexic is not true but he has to surround himself with “crazy lists and charts” to keep up with the way his mind throws up ideas.
“I exhaust people so much,” he said, resigned to it.
In his home office in New York’s Greenwich Village – where Luhrmann, wife Catherine Martin and their two children live when not in Sydney – dictaphones, leather notebooks, writing boards and giant yellow Post-it notes are dotted around to catch a constant flow of ideas – about projects, people to see and things to do.
Moulin Rouge producer Martin Brown said he had never known the couple to have any downtime in 10 years of working together.
“If you’re doing something that you utterly believe in and you’re totally committed to, why would you go to the footy?” he said.
“To achieve what they’ve achieved, you don’t have a normal life.”
Luhrmann, who has two assistants working around the clock, said there were special rules at BazMark, his production company.
“I recognise [my team] need to sleep odd and weird hours because we just work … well, it’s a blur.”
When things get too much, anyone in his inner circle can take “a NASA nap – no less than 20 minutes, no more than 40”.
His racing mind won’t let him nap, though.
“I’m an incredibly difficult sleeper,” Luhrmann said. “I can have periods when a night can be like you really believe it will never end and you’re dancing with devils and demons. It’s terrifying and I just can’t wait for the sun to come up.
“It’s a wacky thing, my sleep. It’s imagination-related. I’ve got the basic things like everyone has: ‘My god, I’ve got some big deal tomorrow.’ But a lot of it is like fighting – not verbal fighting, it’s emotional fighting. I’ve got to find within myself the confidence or the belief to convey an idea.”
The Great Gatsby is released in the US this weekend then opens the Cannes Film Festival next week. It opens in Australia on May 30.
Read the full story on the private Baz Luhrmann in Good Weekend this Saturday.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.