The Australian director was on a "debriefing adventure" after wrapping 2001's Moulin Rouge! when he decided to listen to the audio book of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic tale of love, power, money and destruction.
He tells Wenn, "I decided to take the Trans-Siberian Express from Beijing, across Northern Russia, and then on to Paris to meet my wife and newly-born daughter. And it was in Siberia in a sardine-box of a cabin that I listened to the audio book of The Great Gatsby.
"I poured some wine, looked out and saw Siberia racing by, and started listening. It was four o'clock in the morning before I fell asleep. The next day I could not wait for night to come to get back in my little box, pour the second bottle of wine and listen to the last part.
"At the end of it I realised three things: one, that I hadn't really known The Great Gatsby at all, two, that it was structurally really concise, and three that there's a great film in it. It's an incredibly cinematic book and I thought, 'I'd like to make this movie one day.'"
Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby is released next month (May13).