While things seemed to have been quiet for Spike Jonze since his 2009 adaptation of the children’s classic “Where the Wild Things Are,” the director has been very busy in the last year or so, making a return to the sort of short form film projects and music videos that gave him his street cred. 2010 saw Jonze delivering the lovely short "I'm Here" and working with Arcade Fire on their “Scenes from the Suburbs” flick, while this year he co-directed the short “Mourir Aupres de Toi (To Die Next),” made the memorable Beastie Boys action figure video "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" and has a brewing Charlie Kaufman-penned feature with Joaquin Phoenix attached to star. But when Yeezy comes calling, you gotta pick up the phone.
“Otis,” off Jay-Z and Kanye West’s forthcoming collaborative album Watch the Throne, is a raucous Otis Redding-sampling foot-stomper that will surely be an interesting match with Jonze’s directorial sensibilities. Jay-Z revealed to Angie Martinez of New York City’s Hot 97 (via Pitchfork) that they recruited Jonze to do the video, which is already in the can. MTV even has a few photos from the set, which features an American flag draped across a large container, that looks to be serving as the video’s backdrop.
For those familiar with Jonze’s past video work, which includes clips for artists ranging from Fatboy Slim to Weezer, this is certainly cause for excitement. While opinions of West vary, his previous collaborations with Jonze -- like the confused but nonetheless enchanting short film “We Were Once A Fairytale,” along with the somewhat controversial video for “Flashing Lights” -- have certainly been memorable.
This is Jonze’s first time collaborating with multi-platinum hip-hop star Jay-Z, but if his past work with Jay’s pal West is a taste of what we might expect, we can only be excited for what’s to come.