Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan both star in The Great Gatsby, which recently moved from a December 2012 to a summer 2013 release--much to my chagrin. The movie was a meeting point for the two stars--one on the rise and the other on his way back up (Maguire took a pay cut from his seven-figure salary in the original Spider-Man franchise). Director Baz Luhrmann's projects, when they're good, can yield both critical acclaim and box-office success, so the project was a strategic career choice for both of them.
Now both Maguire and Mulligan are lining up indie projects that will probably end up releasing sometime in the wake of Gatsby.
Mulligan has signed on to a thriller that's been described as similar to To Die For, the project that made Nicole Kidman a breakout star. Perhaps Mulligan also hopes this role will launch her further into the stratosphere? In Nancy and Danny, she would play Nancy, a woman who has failed at making it in the big city. She returns home and manipulates a former classmate into helping her in a get-rich-quick scheme she also hopes will help her land her former high school crush. James Marsh, whose documentary Man on Wire won the Best Documentary Oscar, will direct. Between Mulligan, Marsh, and the story, which seems like a thriller version of Young Adult, there's a lot in this project that looks good.
Maguire is teaming up with Ed Zwick for his indie, Pawn Sacrifice. He'll play chess great Bobby Fischer, a boy wonder who turned into a recluse. Zwick (Love and Other Drugs) is pursuing this project while he waits for financing to come through for The Great Wall, a supernatural project he is set to helm. Zwick is actually taking the reins from David Fincher, who was attached at one point. If Maguire is cast as Fischer, that could lend a clue about what the biopic is going to cover. Maguire is 37. Fischer was 29 when he won the famous 1972 match against Soviet Boris Spassky. After that, he lived in near-obscurity for close to twenty years. It seems likely that the project would focus less on Fischer as a boy wonder and more on what led him to be both the most legendary chess player and a recluse--a bit of a Howard Hughes role, it seems, like that of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator.
Both of these projects seem like worthy follow-ups to the roles of Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan, but only time will tell if they are are as promising as they appear.