The Great Gatsby is among two novels with a legitimate claim to being called the Great American Novel – the other being the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – so it’s surprising Baz Luhrmann is making his $120 million Gatsby adaptation in Sydney. Unfortunately, Australian taxpayers are subsidising this bizarre production, through both a tax offset:
and through a NSW Government film investment fund:
It’s possible the tax offset is worth up to $40 million, and I’m guessing the NSW Government would have provided a couple of million dollars at least.
There may be a case for investing taxpayer dollars in movies that tell genuinely Australian stories (e.g. Picnic at Hanging Rock, Sunday Too Far Away), but using taxpayer dollars to subsidise a big budget production of a quintessentially American story is a complete waste of money.