When Baz Luhrmann started dropping hints last week that he might consider walking away from the Great Gatsby adaptation he's been developing for months, I speculated that it was all a way of playing hardball with the producers or the studio. Sony and Luhrmann co-own the rights to the film, and I figured Sony might be trying to lowball him on a salary as they prepared to put the movie into production, or some other shenanigans were happening behind closed doors that Luhrmann was, furtively, making public.

We may never know exactly what was going on, but we finally have a result-- Warner Bros. is near a deal to pick up the project and distribute it, according to Deadline, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan all still tentatively attached to star. It's unclear why rights holder Sony won't wind up taking ownership of the project, but it's likely that there are internal politics and personal relationships involved that I can't pretend to understand. Deadline says a deal could come together as early as Friday, with the cast's official deals coming afterward.

We've discussed many times all the pros and cons of Luhrrmann taking on one of the great American novels, and the basic moral of the story is that we have no idea how this might turn out. The cast is solid, Luhrmann has clear talent, and you can't ask for better material to work with. Now that the project seems to be back on for real this time, all that's left is to anxiously clutch our paperback copies of the book and pray to the gods of literature that it at least goes better than the 1974 Robert Redford version.

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