In theaters May 10. From Baz Luhrmann, the director of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, “The Great Gatsby” stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher.
There's always great potential for the creative English teacher on a film adaptation's official website. Many offer resources they think might be valuable for teachers.
Though what they offer may or may not seem adequate on the surface, what they offer in the eyes of the creative English teacher can be adapted to levels well beyond merely adequate.
As I perused the Gatsby movie official site I noticed several opportunities to build engaging bridges between the contemporary adaptation, the student's contemporary interests, and the original story.
For example, under the GUIDE TO STYLE link, though the first view is just a bunch of images of fashion logos, clicking on each logo takes you to great info on the role of style, or a bit of the history of the brand, or a short film clip followed by behind the scenes interviews with the costume designer.
You know that your students are either openly fashionistas, or sub-counsciously tuned into the clothing trends they choose to follow. Maybe, a parallel project based upon the design of this portion of the website but based upon the various campus groups would be interesting. Or perhaps paralleling the concept here with the fashions of Cyrano or The Crucible or a favorite musical group or the characters on The Big Bang TV show, or they way people dressed in their parents' high school year books or... well, you get the idea.
Be sure to note that when you click on one of the main menu links that there may be a sub menu.
For example, under the ABOUT THE FILM link, the synopsis is pretty minimal. But, if you click on the PRODUCTION NOTES sub link, you'll find a 49 page document. And, it's actually a PDF file so under the FILE menu of your internet browser you should be able to actually save the entire document to your hard drive.
Under the SOUNDTRACK link there are audio samples from the film. But rather than using contemporary music, all the film's music was done by contemporary musicians.
Why not consider giving students an opportunity to see if any of their favorite comtemprary artists is on the list and then explore the relationship between what they already know about the artist and the artist's decision to be a part of this adaptation of a classic?
Or perhaps, they might feel intrigued by creating a "soundtrack" for a film entitled "The Great (their name here)." I'd add a little spice by telling them that the production company only had a couple of requests for budgetary and production purposes.
1. For marketing purposes they had to have exactly 12 songs. no more no less.
2. The total play time had to be less than 1 hour so it would fit on a CD.
Be sure to notice that the main menu links seem to run right off the screen on the right. Clicking the right arrow icon takes you to a few more interesting pages.
One is a page of downloadable images that might be useful in all sorts of projects.
But, don't overlook the MONOGRAM MAKER link. Here students can actually design a personalized monogram with their initials, their choice of background shape for the monogram, and then actually create stationery that they can add a message to and send via email or use on a variety of social media posts.
What other creative bridges might be built by you OR by your students?