Nineteen students at the University of Iowa have signed a Hollywood film deal for their remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which the students deemed “too white.” The students remade the classic novel’s main character, Jay Gatsby, as a black, lesbian art dealer.
The University of Iowa students developed a novel, titled, Gilded in Ash — a woke Great Gatsby remake — as part of an honors seminar, according to a report by Des Moines Register.
The novel — which ended up catching the attention of three film producers — follows a black lesbian version of Gatsby, who takes interest in Daisy Buchanan, the love interest from the 1925 original story.
With the copyright for the original Great Gatsby expiring at the end of 2020, University of Iowa professor Harry Stecopoulos tasked his students — who deemed the original novel “too white” — with rewriting the classic American story, according to a report by The Daily Iowan.
“They changed it so dramatically, particular in relation to identity, to such an extent that it can’t help but be a commentary on the original,” Stecopoulos said of his students’ work, according to Des Moines Register.
Word of the book — which has reportedly not yet been published — reached Hollywood producer Cary Woods, who is perhaps best known for producing Scream and Godzilla.
Earlier this month, the students signed paperwork to license the film rights to their book, as Woods — along with producers Mikaela Beardsley and Jamie Gordon — bought the rights to Gilded in Ash for an undisclosed amount.
“We’ve definitely never optioned an unpublished manuscript by 19 college students before,” Gordon said.
Stecopolous said he will teach the course again in the fall semester, saying this time he will have his students remake Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The copyright will expire in 2022.