By Sara Vilkomerson
Updated June 28, 2011 at 05:09 PM EDT
Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) is currently in Paris to promote his new film Warrior, the action-packed tearjerking tale co-starring Tom Hardy, written and directed by Gavin O’Connor (Miracle), about estranged brothers who must face each other in a mixed martial arts championship. (It hits theaters Sept. 9.) But EW was also able to ask the 37-year-old actor about his next role: that of Tom Buchanan in the highly anticipated Baz Luhrmann adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

“I can’t wait,” says Edgerton. “Tom Buchanan is a fantastic character … a very complicated fellow. I love Baz and I think the cast he’s got together is just incredible — every single one of them.” Indeed! Edgerton joins Leonardo DiCaprio, who will play the enigmatic Jay Gatsby; Tobey Maguire as narrator Nick Carraway; Carey Mulligan as Gatsby’s object of affection Daisy Buchanan; and Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan’s mistress. Edgerton joined the cast after Ben Affleck — who had been in talks with the director — passed on the role due to scheduling conflicts with his Iran hostage thriller, Argo.

“This is the cool thing about being an actor,” says Edgerton, who has been learning to play polo for his Gatsby role. “All sorts of things become a privilege, you know? Getting to learn different things about different peoples’ lives … getting to live the life of a fighter for a little while and then getting to jump on a horse and play polo. There’s a real childish excitement for me. And one of the other privileges is getting to work with extraordinary people.” He laughs. “The idea of going toe-to-toe with Leonardo… ”

Oh, and there’s one extra benefit for Edgerton: The Great Gatsby will be filming in his native Australia. “The studio is quite close to where I live,” he says. “I love being in Los Angeles, but I particularly love being home.”

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