The 2013 hit movie The Great Gatsby has spawned another 1920s-themed musical with a modern twist: the film Ziggy starring Dane DeHaan and Rooney Mara as star-crossed lovers in the time of Prohibition — he playing a hunchback escape artist who arrives in New York and falls in love with the fiancee (Mara) of a powerful media mogul.
But anyone expecting the sounds of Thoroughly Modern Millie or even Chicago is in for a surprise. Director Diesel Schwarze, a Baz Luhrmann protege making the transition from commercials to features, has tapped Grammy-nominated producer-songwriter Alex Da Kid (Imagine Dragons, Eminem‘s “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna) to spearhead the film’s original contemporary music. Ziggy, produced by Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricof’s Electric City Entertainment, will likely be akin to Luhrmann’s Gatsby, with its anachronistic Jay Z tracks thumping against a backdrop replete with bobbed hair and Art Deco.
Though Alex Da Kid (real name Alexander Grant), 31, has contributed songs to films in the past — The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Iron Man 3 — Ziggy marks his first full soundtrack. “The constraints of telling a story and developing character can be challenging for artists coming from the recording side,” says Schwarze, “[but] Alex is fascinated by observing character and can apply that intuitive perspective in his writing.”
This article first appeared in the Sept. 27th issue of Billboard.