May 20, 2013 12:00 PM

(from left)

Joel Edgerton

PLAYS: Tom Buchanan

The Aussie, 38, stirs up trouble as Daisy’s arrogant husband, but off-set “the camaraderie was fantastic,” he says. “We went out and had Australian barbie together. They’re all great drinking mates!”

Isla Fisher

PLAYS: Myrtle Wilson

During the shoot in Sydney, Fisher, 37, who plays Tom’s mistress, welcomed costars with her favorite Down Under snacks. “I tried to introduce lamington and Vegemite,” she says. “But the reception was not always warm.”

Tobey Maguire

PLAYS: Nick Carraway

Maguire, 37, signed on as the tale’s narrator after a call from pal DiCaprio. “I had a blast—I got to [film] one of the great American novels with my best friend.”

Carey Mulligan

PLAYS: Daisy Buchanan

As the woman Gatsby worships, the British actress, 27, felt like “a kid in a candy store” about the sumptuous costumes. At first, “I was daunted to work with Leo because I’ve been a fan of his since I was 10. He made it easy.”

Leonardo DiCaprio

PLAYS: Jay Gatsby

The ambitious millionaire “is a dreamer, and I can identify with that,” says DiCaprio, 38, who first read the book at 15. “As I got older, it took on new meaning.”

Baz Luhrmann

Director and cowriter

After listening to an audiobook of Gatsby in 2004 while traveling to Siberia, “I had such a feeling of loss,” says the filmmaker, 50. “It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I knew I had to adapt it into a film.”

The cast posed for PEOPLE on April 27 at the Oak Bar in Manhattan’s famed Plaza Hotel. A pivotal scene in the movie takes place in a suite.

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