Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter has joined forces with director Baz Luhrmann to executive produce and perform on the soundtrack for the upcoming film "The Great Gatsby," Warner Bros. Pictures, the studio behind the film, announced on Thursday, March 14.
According to a statement from Warner Bros. Pictures, Jay-Z will "bring the modern 'Jazz Age' energy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's original text to the big screen, procuring, performing, producing and arranging for a soundtrack featuring some of the world's top musical artists."
It was actually the film's star, Leonardo DiCaprio, who introduced Luhrmann to Jay-Z. They worked on the soundtrack for two years as a collaborative effort along with composer Craig Armstrong, who previously worked with Luhrmann on the soundtracks to "Moulin Rouge!" and "Romeo + Juliet."
Luhrmann said in a statement that his collaboration with Jay-Z was "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.'"
"So, the question for me in approaching 'Gatsby' was how to elicit from our audience the same level of excitement and pop-cultural immediacy toward the world that Fitzgerald did for his audience? And in our age, the energy of jazz is caught in the energy of hip-hop," Luhrmann added. "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 Great Gatsby" soundtrack will be released by Interscope Records. Jay-Z is currently a part of his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, which operates as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.
"As soon as I spoke with Baz and Leonardo, I knew this was the right project," Jay-Z said in a statement. "'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 'Romeo + Juliet's' score wasn't just in the background; the music became a character," he added. "This film's vision and direction has all the makings of an epic experience."
"The Great Gatsby" is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name. The film stars DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, the narrator.
Carraway is a Midwesterner who moves to Long Island and finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Gatsby. He is eventually drawn into Gatsby's social circle, and becomes a witness to obsession and tragedy.
The film is set for release on May 10 and it was recently announced that the movie will open the The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival in France on May 15. According to the BBC, Jay-Z will attend the opening at the film festival and the movie will be screened in 3D.
Check out the trailer for "The Great Gatsby" below.