There are four film versions of The Great Gatsby and, depending on your age, you may have seen most or all of them.
True Great Gatsby fans will have seen at least the 1974 and the 2013 versions and wondered where they filmed the mansions and other scenes that made the movie look so spectacular.
The 1974 version of The Great Gatsby (starring Robert Redford) was filmed in Rhode Island not in Long Island, while the 2013 film (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) was shot mostly in Australia.
Did that surprise you?
You may have guessed differently and thought you knew the basic answer to the question, “Where was The Great Gatsby filmed?”
Besides that trivia, we’ve also discovered other interesting facts that really made us think twice about both movie sets.
Let’s dive right in, shall we, and discover the little-known facts about the movie locations for both the 1974 and 2013 versions.
Top 11 Things You Didn’t Know about the Filming of The Great Gatsby
Whether you’re a fan of the 1974 version or the 2013 version, there’s plenty to learn about where these movies were made and why.
Fact #1- The 2013 Version Was NOT Even Filmed in America
This is quite shocking when you consider how very realistic this film appears to be.
The movie had been slated to be filmed in and around New York City. After all, that’s where the book was set, right?
For some reason, the director, Baz Luhrmann, decided to film nearly the entire movie in Australia! Fox Studios Australia finished the majority of the film in late 2011, adding a bit of extra footage in early 2012.
The exterior of Gatsby’s mansion comes to us from none other than the International College of Management (formerly St. Patrick’s Seminary) in Sydney, Australia.
The Buchanan Estate is Old Westbury Gardens, which is now a museum. The exterior was created on a soundstage with digital enhancements to create landscaping and views of the water.
Gatsby’s driveway was filmed in the Centennial Park. It took 10 days to prep the location for three days of film.
Fact #2- The 1974 Version Was Filmed in Rhode Island, Not Long Island
Paramount wanted to use some of the grand mansions from Long Island that were built in the late 1800s.
However, the “old money” residents apparently didn’t want their neighborhoods filmed and won the fight, so the director moved on to Rhode Island.
Gatsby’s mansion in this version of the film was none other than the Rosecliff estate mansion, built in 1909 in Newport, Rhode Island.
However, much of Gatsby’s interior came from another Gilded Age mansion, the Marble House, also in Newport, built in 1888 for the Vanderbilts.
In the flashback scene where Gatsby as a young soldier meets debutant Daisy Fay, the location is Linden Place Mansion, about 10 miles south of Newport.
Fact #3- The Idea to Film the 2013 Version Happened in Another Country
Baz Luhrmann, the director of the film that would later star Leonardo DiCaprio was on a train in Siberia listening to an audiobook of The Great Gatsby in 2004.
Surrounded by Chinese people, he took refuge in listening to the book because he didn’t speak Chinese. By the end of his train trip, he said that he felt melancholy and could picture the entire film in his head.
Fact #4- The Male Extras in the 1974 Version Were Easy to Find
The casting director needed to find lots of male extras who had the short, clean-cut look of the 1920s. Long hair was still very fashionable in 1974, but they didn’t need to bring in barbers.
All they needed was a visit to an academy. The Naval War College, located in Newport, had thousands of ready-made extras who were only too happy to dance with the ladies in the party scenes at Gatsby’s mansion.
Fact #5- Two of the Male Actors from the 2013 Version Grew Up Being Friends
Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio became friends while auditioning for the same roles in the late 1980s. Bonding over their dysfunctional families, this pair of friends have been close since they were 12 years old!
Growing up in the Los Angeles area, it was hard to know who was your friend and who wasn’t, but at least this pair of actors always had each other.
Little did they know that one day they would play friends and neighbors in the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby.
Fact #6- There’s One Real-Life Picture in the 2013 Version
In the scene at the apartment where Tom Buchanan has his affair with Myrtle Wilson, there is a photograph of a woman on the wall. That woman is Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Even though his wife’s photo is in this movie version, Daisy is based on Fitzgerald’s first love, Minerva King, whom he could not marry because he was poor.
Fact #7- The Director of the 1974 Version Lived in “West Egg”
When this movie was made, director Francis Ford Coppola was actually living in Great Neck, Long Island, which Fitzgerald called “West Egg” in his novel.
Not only did Coppola live in the “less fashionable” area of Long Island, but he was also living in the house that Fitzgerald had also lived in when he was alive.
Fact #8- There Is an Error in the Script in the 1974 Version of this Movie
Perhaps you noticed the mistake in the script, or you thought it was intentional, but the timeline doesn’t really work out.
When Nick is planning to ask Daisy to tea at his house, Gatsby tells Nick that he and Daisy had not seen each other “for eight years, next November.
The book clearly states more than once that they had been apart for 5 years. For trivia buffs, this is an interesting fact that you may want to note.
Fact #9- The 2013 Movie Version Has a Little Latin in It
If you pay close attention to the gates of Gatsby’s mansion, you will see that the Latin words “Ad Finem Fidelis” are inscribed on the gate.
This means “Faithful to the End,” and it is meant to show that Gatsby would be faithful to Daisy until death (quite literally) takes him.
Fact #10- Both Movies Share One Important Thing
While both movies are exceptional in their own way and the filming locations were carefully chosen, both Coppola’s 1974 movie version and Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 version won Oscars for Best Costume Design at the Oscar Award Ceremony.
Fact #11- Fitzgerald Would Have Been Disdainful of Gatsby-Themed Events
It’s ironic to note that shortly before the release of the 2013 version, several wealthy people, including Prince Harry and Paul McCartney, held expensive and extravagant Gatsby-themed parties.
These were exactly the types of parties that Fitzgerald attended during his years on Long Island and was typical of the behavior of the rich that he found loathsome.
Despite being filmed in Australia, the 2013 version of the film remains quite popular, perhaps due to the actors’ superb performances.
While the 1974 version had terrific actors, some say that it was the locations where the movie was filmed that gave it such a genuine feel.
Whether you are a fan of one version or the other, no one can deny that nearly 100 years later, The Great Gatsby still has a worldwide appeal that author F. Scott Fitzgerald never could have imagined.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.