Long before William Omar Landrón even imagined winning a role in a major Hollywood movie, he had already won a fan in actor Vin Diesel. Diesel got hooked on “Bandoleros,” a gritty rap track with acoustic guitar that Landrón recorded as Don Omar with his friend Tego Calderón in 2005. In fact, Diesel liked the song so much that he agreed to make a cameo appearance in the last scene of “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”—the car movie franchise’s third installment—on the condition that “Bandoleros” was used.
“Vin said, ‘I love this song,’ and I said, ‘I know the guy who sings it,’ ” says Kathy Nelson, Universal Pictures president of film music. “We licensed it, we shot the movie, we finished it, and Don did another song that we used as end credits.”
Now, Diesel is once again behind the wheel as the star of “Fast & Furious,” which made $72.5 million its opening week, the highest-grossing April debut, according to the Hollywood Reporter. And at his request, Omar’s music is riding along—as well as the man himself.
In his acting debut, Omar plays a small role as a member of Diesel’s gang. His music plays a bigger part in the movie, which uses three tracks from his upcoming album “IDON,” including the lead single, “Virtual Diva.”
The film’s fortuitous timing has directed the attention of the mainstream to “IDON,” due April 28 on Machete. A concept album that explores the creation of a digital super-being—with high-energy, hard-driving beats and some bilingual lyrics—is a perfect match for a film shot in Latin settings and marketed to young, diverse moviegoers.
Beyond the film, “IDON” is an experiment in concept and execution that deliberately goes after a digitally minded audience in a way few—if any—Latin acts have done before.
Click here for the full Don Omar feature which includes details behind an unprecedented online campaign for a Latin artist, how Universal and iTunes have teamed for a marketing push that involves Google, and more.