Leonardo DiCaprio introduced rap star Jay-Z to director Baz Luhrmann for the musical score to the upcoming film ‘The Great Gatsby’.
The 38-year-old actor – who plays the titular role in the big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel – brought the two artists together for the project, which led to a two-year collaboration between the pair to create a “modern twist” for the soundtrack.
Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, said: “As soon as I spoke with Baz and Leonardo, I knew this was the right project. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is that classic American story of one’s introduction to extravagance, decadence and illusion.
“It’s ripe for experimentation and ready to be interpreted with a modern twist. The imagination Baz brought to ‘Moulin Rouge’ made it a masterpiece, and the ‘Romeo + Juliet’ score wasn’t just in the background – the music became a character. This film’s vision and direction has all the makings of an epic experience.”
Luhrmann believes the rapper is a “natural fit” for the film and will help portray the jazz music of the era perfectly.
He explained: “[Jay-Z is] a credible and natural fit. Fitzgerald was a pioneer, famed and controversial for using the then-new and explosive sound called jazz in his novels and short stories – not just as decoration, but to actively tell story using the immediacy of pop culture. He coined the phrase ‘the Jazz Age’.
“Not only is Jay-Z a great artist, full stop, but I had heard that he was a great collaborator. Leonardo and I were lucky enough to be present in a recording session over two years ago as Jay-Z was recording ‘No Church in the Wild,’ and the collaboration grew from there.”
The film – which also stars Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan – is set for release on May 10 and will kick off the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15.