In “Dumb Money,” directed by Craig Gillespie and set in 2021, the film revolves around a group of everyday stock traders taking on the Wall Street titans. The choice of music, particularly Cardi B’s 2020 hit “WAP,” played a crucial role in shaping the film’s narrative.
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Music supervisor Susan Jacobs explains that the film’s writers deemed the time period of the story to be significant, as it coincided with the GameStop stock market events. This historical context was essential to the film’s storytelling.
To create a soundtrack that evoked the feeling of the COVID era and fit within a limited budget, Jacobs sought recognizable songs. She aimed to use music to set the tone for the hedge fund characters and make a statement. Her selections included songs by artists like Cardi B, Drake, and Megan Thee Stallion.
Securing the rights to “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion proved challenging due to legal issues surrounding the song’s masters at the time. However, Megan granted permission for the song’s use. To work around these obstacles, Jacobs collaborated with producer Mark Baston, known for his work with artists like Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, and 50 Cent, to create a new version of the song that would do justice to the film.
With “WAP” and a revised version of “Savage” secured, Jacobs turned her attention to filling out the soundtrack with other songs. She enlisted young artists and reworked existing tracks from Baston’s catalog to suit the film’s needs.
One of the reworked songs was a version of Cardi B’s “Lit Thot,” which played during the introduction of the stock company Robin Hood. This song was challenging to replace because it had to capture the raunchy and edgy essence of the Robin Hood characters.
Additionally, composer Will Bates was brought in to create a balance between the film’s score and its soundtrack. The score was used mainly for scenes featuring Paul Dano’s character, Keith Gill, to add a more melodic and emotional dimension to those moments.
In summary, securing Cardi B’s “WAP” and other songs was crucial to “Dumb Money’s” storytelling because the music helped transport viewers to the specific time period of the film, set the tone for the characters, and contributed to the overall narrative by creating the right atmosphere and emotions for key scenes.