Do I or Do I Not Want To Do? (How to Decide)?

Luhrmann doesn’t want to give in to the pressure to repeat himself. During the making of “Gatsby,” he said, he felt challenged and alive, “not panicked that somehow the universe was leaving me behind.” That is the way he needs to feel about his next project, whatever it is. “I’d love to have done James Bond,” he said. “I’d love to just go and do a rom-com or a jeans-and-T-shirt film, because that would be fun.” But he can’t. “It is both maddening and also has a degree of exultation about it, but I’m addicted to doing not that which I really want to do, but that which I feel must be done.” His job now, he said, is “to draw some kind of lines. I have a big inner life. My struggle is how to organize it. How to aim the gun.”

~ Amy Wallace on Baz Luhrmann, Do I or Do I Not Want To Do? (How to Decide)?

Mark Anthony “Baz” Luhrmann, 51, is an Australian film director, screenwriter and producer best known for The Red Curtain Trilogy, comprising his films Strictly BallroomRomeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!. In 2008, his film Australia was released, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. His version of The Great Gatsby was released in 2013.  On 26 January 1997, he wed Catherine Martin, a production designer; the couple has two children.  (Source: Wiki)


  1. That discipline is amazing to me. To choose not what one wants, but what one feels is required. I hope at the least it brings him joy along with his well-deserved kudos..


    • I thought the entire article was fascinating including his keen interest in keeping a tight knit family and why (he didn’t have one growing up) and his focus on being organized.

      Simplify and minimize. (Luhrmann believes that external order creates internal possibility. For example, he has nearly identical closets in New York and Sydney, with everything in the same place. He gets cranky, he said, if “I have to go: ‘Where are the underpants? They’re supposed to be in Drawer No. 6.’ ” Same with the bathrooms. Toothpaste, toothbrush, everything is laid out in the same pattern, no matter what city he’s in. “As I’m going through the routine, I don’t have to think,” he said, adding that this leaves more room for creativity. “The mind is unlocking something.”)


  2. There’s an element of self-torture here, too. I would have to read more.


  3. Ummm but it takes enough courage and self-control to be like that.


  4. What an interesting, timely piece. Thank you for sharing, David. I suspect that Mr. Lurhmann possesses strengths that make him a natural organizer (and when it’s not organized, he feels anxious) and a sense of excellence that makes it hard for him to give in to a romcom or t-shirt/jeans movie (which he may regard as non-excellent). From a personal perspective, the statement about a big inner life and aiming the gun struck home for me. I was just pondering it yesterday after a family gathering to look at old photos. We come from a crew that doesn’t really discuss such things. My father died when I was 11, and we never really discussed him again. I “went in” – didn’t play with kids, spent time with books (safer?), etc. And frankly, despite all evidence to the contrary (people think I am outgoing), I’ve never really come out. I have a big inner life – it’s nice to see it in writing. Perhaps I can embrace it (and leverage it) rather than wonder what’s wrong with me. 🙂 Very helpful.


  5. sometimes i find it wonderful to just do what i want to do and not what needs to be done. simply because i want to and for no other reason.

    he seems torn between doing what needs to be done,( and with that comes the struggle for power and control over everything), and giving himself permission to do what he just wants to do and just letting go.


  6. I can really relate to this, especially now while in the process of transition. I ask myself what do I want to do, but the question and the answers it kicks up have so little traction. But this sense of inner compulsion is different, and it’s not even a question of choice or discipline. In fact for a long time choice has seemed utterly illusory. The question of what must be done is one the strikes the purpose of being. It compels us to make the most effective contribution given who and where we are. It also pushes us past our fears and doubts for the sake of something greater beyond our selves. Thanks for sharing. Timely also as Baz just won lots of awards for Gatsby a few days ago.


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