If you have seen or are familiar with Baz Luhrmann’s previous work, then you also know he has an interesting penchant for scoring his period-piece films with popular modern tunes. His 2001 musical Moulin Rouge, set in the early 1900s, featured the classic Madonna tracks “Material Girl” and “Like a Virgin”, and his 1996 film Romeo + Juliet boasted the Radiohead song “Talk Show Host” and Everclear’s “Local God” (among plenty of other rock songs) – so it comes as no surprise that he’s gone modern with the music again on The Great Gatsby.
The Jay Z and Kanye West track “No Church in the Wild” is featured in both the first theatrical trailer and the second for Luhrmann’s film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel, creating a surprisingly suitable audio backdrop for the film’s stunningly gorgeous and grand visuals. The period drama set to modern hip-hop certainly stood out, becoming one of the most memorable parts of the trailer, and now we are learning that media mogul and hip-hop artist/producer Jay Z will actually be scoring the entire film.
The news comes courtesy of The Bullitts’ Twitter page, where musician and filmmaker Jeymes Samuel made the official announcement, tweeting the following on Saturday:
Jay-Z and myself have been working tirelessly on the score for the upcoming #CLASSIC The Great Gatsby! It is too DOPE for words!
Jay Z is not just a superstar in the world of hip-hop music – he’s a bonafide icon. At this point his godfather status in the genre actually transcends the music due to his success with several self-made business ventures. That’s good news for moviegoers and for the filmmakers working on Gatsby, as the laser-focus he applies to everything he does should serve the film well.
The other good news is that Samuel is known for incorporating a cinematic element to his work. He has released several self-directed short films to accompany his music, so he may be able to guide Jay Z along during the process of scoring the film.
Now we just have to hope the music vibes with the narrative and the tone of the film. It certainly accentuates the visual spectacle of the trailer, but for the film to succeed as a whole, the score has to appropriately service the mood and the tale of hedonism, deceit and obsession, which should take center stage.
Daniel Johnson blogs at Screen Rant.