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Great (F.) Scott (Fitzgerald)! ‘The Great Gatsby’ is getting the TV treatment

‘Vikings’ creator Michael Hirst will reimagine the classic novel emphasizing diversity and inclusivity

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby.”
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby.”
Warner Bros.

High school English students across the country, rejoice! Soon there will be a new video adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby” for you to watch, instead of just reading the book as your teacher would prefer (Sorry Mr. Reichert). But before you get too excited, it’s still probably a good idea to read the book before seeing the movie, or in this case, TV series.

Collider reports that “Vikings” creator Michael Hirst will be adapting the much-studied novel into a miniseries. According to the site, Hirst will write the series and serve as one of its executive producers alongside Michael London, who produced the 2008 Academy Award-winning biopic “Milk.”

Hirst plans to reimagine Fitzgerald’s classic tale by placing its central characters in New York City’s Black community in the 1920s, People reports, and giving special attention to the musical subculture of the time.

Regarding the new project, Hirst said (via The Hollywood Reporter):

“I seem to have lived with ‘Gatsby’ most of my life, reading it first as a schoolboy, later teaching it at Oxford in the 1970s then re-reading it periodically ever since. As the critic Lionel Trilling once wrote: ‘The Great Gatsby’ is still as fresh as when it first appeared, it has even gained in weight and relevance.’ Today, as America seeks to reinvent itself once again, is the perfect moment to look with new eyes at this timeless story, to explore its famous and iconic characters through the modern lens of gender, race and sexual orientation.”

Hirst and London are not alone in this new endeavor. According to People, the duo is bringing on Farah Jasmine Griffin, the William B. Ransford Professor of English and comparative literature and African-American studies at Columbia University, and Blake Hazard, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s great-granddaughter, as consulting producers for the series.

“I have long dreamt of a more diverse, inclusive version of ‘Gatsby,’” Hazard told The Hollywood Reporter, “(One) that better reflects the America we live in, one that might allow us all to see ourselves in Scott’s wildly romantic text. Michael brings a deep reverence for Scott’s work to the project, but also a fearlessness about bringing such an iconic story to life in an accessible and fresh way. I’m delighted to be a part of the project.”

No network is currently attached to the project, People reports. The co-producers plan to pitch the series to premium cable or streaming platforms.

According to Thought Co., the Fitzgerald novel has already been adapted for the screen six times before. The two most notable adaptations came in 1974 and 2013, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow starring in the former and Leonardo DiCaprio alongside Carrie Mulligan in the latter. Both films earned two golden statues at their respective Academy Award ceremonies.