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Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby not only features a star-studded cast, but a stellar soundtrack that counts Jay-Z, Beyonce, Lana Del Rey, Fergie, The xx and Jack White among its standouts.
With the artists — who never appear on screen — receiving unprecedented promotion during the film’s super-sized media campaign, it’s no surprise that fans have been clamoring to hear the new songs ahead of Gatsby’s May 10 release.
The Jay-Z-curated soundtrack has received mixed reactions from critics, many of whom are skeptical of the rap superstar’s place in a 1920s Jazz-Age story.
Luhrmann himself ponders whether Fitzgerald would have been upset with his decision to include incredibly modern music in his take on the classic tale.
“I don’t know if he would say, ‘I was really upset you didn’t put the old-fashioned music in.’ He might have,” Luhrmann tells The Hollywood Reporter. “He might have said, ‘Why did you put that immediate, now music? Why did you use this new thing called 3-D?’… I don’t really know what he would think.”
But at the end of the day, Luhrmann is confident in honoring the legacy of the late author.
“I know what [Fitzgerald] would think about one thing,” he admits. “When he was dying, he was walking around buying copies of his book because he wanted there to be sales registering The Great Gatsby. I’m pretty sure he’d be fairly happy that his book is now the number-one-selling book in America. I’m pretty sure he’d be OK about that.”
Carey Mulligan, the actress behind Daisy Buchanan and wife of Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford, says “I never thought I’d be in a film where Jay-Z was doing the soundtrack.”
“I’m a real geek. I’m so not cool, and I’ve got pretty broad, terrible taste in music,” she explains. “But I am aware that this is a very cool soundtrack.” (We think it’s safe to assume Mulligan might be more of a folk rocker.)
But more important than the buzz-factor, Mulligan feels that the song choices and placement are crucial to aiding the story.
Says Mulligan, “Every time there’s a music cue that comes in, I think it’s so well judged and draws you into a scene, as opposed to pushing you further away from it.”
E-mail: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
Jordan Zakarin contributed to this report.
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