Adapting a book like The Great Gatsby into a film is both an incredibly difficult challenge and ridiculously easy. On the one hand, the novel, written by F Scott Fitzgerald and published in 1925, is one of the most beloved and well-known novels of the 20th century. People across the world have an idea in their heads of what Jay Gatsby should look like, what his house should look like, what his parties were really like. If you get it wrong, people will notice and tear the film to shreds. That said, The Great Gatsby is one of the few novels which truly lends itself to being adapted. Firstly, the novel itself is actually quite short, so a lot of what is written about in the book could – hypothetically – be left in. Nothing need be cut dramatically or altered. Secondly, the novel is unbelievably light on dialogue.
So much of what made Fitzgerald's novel so popular revolved around his exquisite prose, the innate detail in his descriptions of locations, outfits, mannerisms, people and all the little nuances of 1920s New York. It is all wealth and appearances but much of this is explained to the reader through the narrative rather than shown through dialogue and action. A young man is lured to New York to make his fortune and moves in next to the elusive Mr Gatsby, who he later learns has already been acquainted with his cousin Daisy before she married Tom Buchanan. For a story that revolves around Gatsby, it is worth noting that the man himself does not actually appear until chapter three, only adding, of course, to the intrigue behind his character.