Baz Luhrmann enlisted some of the greatest voices of the new millennium for “The Great Gatsby,” including Jay-Z, will.i.am, Lana Del Rey and Fergie. But, one lady shines particularly bright on the May 7 album, and that is Jay’s own leading lady, Beyoncé.
She not only appears with Andre 3000 on a haunting cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black,” which premiered on producer Mark Ronson’s radio show over the weekend, but Emeli Sande covers Bey’s classic “Crazy In Love” for the release.
Director Luhrmann spoke to MTV News over the weekend about how he worked with his team, including Hova and the Bullitts’ Jeymes Samuel , to add some new-age musical sparkle to the Jazz Age love story. Baz said, “[James is] a really great friend of [Jay’s] and just a unique human being. He defines energy; he defines spirit and he’s a pop cultural genius. And I worked with Anton Monsted … a great little team.”
It was at Jay’s suggestion that Bey’s cover of Winehouse’s tune make the final cut of the soundtrack. “We were looking for, ’How do we have a darker moment?’ and he said have a listen to this and he played it,” he recalled, and after a few spins, it was confirmed it should appear.
“Crazy In Love,” on the other hand, was all Baz and Monsted’s doing. He recalled, “I mean ’Crazy In Love,’ does it make you think of any character in the book? I don’t know and then a great epiphany was that I wanted it to blend between the modern music and the traditional. [Roxy Music’s] Bryan Ferry for years has been obsessing with this really traditional jazz band … and then Emilie Sande does the vocal; that’s where we go.”
However, Baz isn’t just singing Bey’s praises. He’s pretty stoked about all the folks he got to work with on the album, as he looks forward to the film’s premiere on May 10. He said, “We worked with so many people, so many artists, but it was always captained between Jay and I. He is a serial collaborator. He is one the most professional people I’ve worked with. And he’s funny. … He can be bother serious and ironic.”