Today in inter-studio espionage: Deadline reports that Amazon is close to buying the script for The Last Tycoon, a drama based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final, unfinished novel. The script—by Captain Phillips writer Billy Ray—was previously shopped to HBO. That network passed on it for unknown reasons, probably because Fitzgerald’s pre-World War II sensibilities prevented him including the requisite level of nudity in the original text.
Although Fitzgerald never completed the book (originally titled The Love Of The Last Tycoon), an edited version was published in 1941. Decades later, Elia Kazan directed a film adaption written by Harold Pinter and starring Robert De Niro. The Last Tycoon revolves around movie executive Monroe Stahr, a loose analog for real-life producer Irving Thalberg, who worked for Universal and MGM in the ’20s and ’30s and had a hand in grooming stars like Lon Chaney, Greta Garbo, and Joan Crawford. It follows Stahr as he rises through the ranks, butts heads with rival producer Pat Brady (an analog for Louis B. Mayer), and presumably pulls a Gatsby by learning that all of his wealth and accomplishments will never fill the aching hole in his soul.