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Port Washington theater shows 'Great Gatsby' sneak preview

Director Baz Luhrmann and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and

Director Baz Luhrmann and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan attend a "Great Gatsby" after-party at The Top of The Standard in Manhattan onMay 5, 2013. Credit: Getty Images

Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann personally brought "The Great Gatsby" to Long Island Wednesday night, hosting a sneak preview of the film for an invite-only crowd at Port Washington's newly re-opened Soundview Cinemas. The film officially opens Friday.

The event, which featured a bevy of women dressed in flapper-era costumes, was sponsored by the Gold Coast International Film Festival, based in the town of Great Neck, which helped inspire the setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.

"I wanted to say thank you," Luhrmann said before the screening, twirling a pair of 3-D glasses like the ones that audience members would soon put on. "Gatsby is back home in Nassau County."

The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, the married woman he loves, was shot in Luhrmann's native Australia, even though it takes place largely in the fictional Long Island villages of East Egg and West Egg. Luhrmann said Wednesday's screening came almost three years after he began doing local research for the film, which included visits to Oheka Castle in Huntington, the Vanderbilt Mansion in Oakdale and Hempstead House in Sands Point, all locations that were partially reproduced for the film.

"So many things that you'll see tonight, you'll say, 'Hang on, isn't that . . . ?' " Luhrmann said. "The answer is yes, it is. Just not here."

Luhrmann said it was less expensive to shoot the film in Australia than in New York.

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