After Baz Luhrmann's allegedly abysmal The Great Gatsby (after watching the trailers and hearing parts of the soundtrack, I gave the film a very wide berth, so I cannot confirm any accounts of its horrifying nature), it's nice to be excited about one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's works being adapted for the screen. Melville House (via The Hollywood Reporter) put out the news today (and if you read The Hollywood Reporter, you knew a few days ago):
The Last Tycoon, a story of Hollywood studio politics, was the last of Fitzgerald’s work, and was left unfinished at the time of his death in 1940. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The drama, from Sony Pictures Television, is described as a new take on the Roman a clef inspired by the real life of film producer Irving Thalberg. The story follows Monroe Stahr (based on Thalberg) and his rise to power in old Hollywood and his conflicts with Pat Brady (based on studio topper Louis B. Mayer).”
The story continues on to say, "With Stahr as a focal point, the series will unveil the true violence, sex and towering ambition of Hollywood in the 1930s." I wouldn't expect anything less from HBO—and to be honest, I'm surprised they didn't put "sex" first, though the linking of "sex" and "towering ambition" is a nice touch/double entendre.
We'll see how it all shakes out, but having thoroughly enjoyed Billy Ray's scripts for Captain Phillips and State of Play (and heard decent things about his adaptation of The Hunger Games), at least there is reason to hope. But, as Monroe Stahr says, "Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person." Let's hope Ray gets a lot of good writers around him, and if Sony Pictures and HBO are footing the bill that shouldn't be too tall an order.