Spike Jonze Has Directed "Otis" For Kanye West & Jay-Z

by Benjamin Wright
August 2, 2011 1:40 AM
3 Comments
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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.

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More: Musicians, Spike Jonze, Kanye West, Jay Z

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3 Comments

  • Glass | August 3, 2011 11:25 AMReply

    Hey Ryan, remember when Kanye did that one thing where even Obama called him a jackass for it? Remember when he hijacked a live Katrina telethon to call Bush a racist? Remember anything he did that made him more talked-about for his personality than his music?

    Yeah, all of that is why Kanye has that "opinions may vary" dog-ear in the article, and not Mr. Carter or Spike. We get it, you're a white dude who takes a scholastic approach to urban music and feels proud to be playing both sides of the racial fence on rap music. But that was a fail, buddy.

    That being said, I squealed when the rumors started coming out that Spike directed it. Enough of this hipster LCD Soundsystem/Beastie Boys/Arcade Fire bulsh, it's time to mash up his talents with different genres and do something exciting.

    Spike + LCD/Beastie/Arcade Fire is almost a joke it's so predictable (even though SFTS was pretty damn good).

  • Mr Anonymous | August 2, 2011 8:50 AMReply

    It wasn't a cheap shot. He said 'while opinions of West vary'.....that was all. He wasn't giving his personal feeling on Kanye, just commenting on Kanye's persona in the public as we all have seen. Everyone knows this.He isn't exactly shy, is he?

    So calm the fuck down.

    And just so you know i'm a fan.

  • Ryan | August 2, 2011 5:36 AMReply

    I don't understand what you mean when you say "opinions of West vary". His last album was almost universally cast as the best album of last year. And each of his albums up this point, in fact, have been extremely well received (as has his work on other albums for people like Jay-Z and Common, and almost all of his music videos).
    There might be people who take a distaste to Kanye personally, but you don't go into the personalities of Jigga and Spike in you piece, so why would you feel the need to bring that up? And what does that have to do with the video? The same phenomenon occurred last year when almost every rave review of Kanye's album was prefaced with "No matter what you think of Kanye West...".

    I was confused by that aspect of your news update (which is what it is, not an article which presents a dynamic view of a person, but simply updates a bit of news AND decides to slip in a cheap shot). And I would prefer it if, next time you are doing your job, you would leave your personal prejudices out of the equation.

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