The latest Avatar film has sparked a wave of controversy, but The Weeknd remembers how the first film changed his life. Avatar: The Way of the Water has been at the center of backlash after production was accused of appropriating real-life Indigenous cultures and perpetuating racist stereotypes. As those conversations continue, The Weeknd has also been praised for partnering with Swedish House Mafia and composer Simon Frenglen to create the movie’s theme, “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength).”
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the House of Balloons hitmaker, and Weeknd explained how the original 2009 film changed him. “That was probably the darkest time of my life,” he said.
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The Weeknd recalled dropping out of school and being homeless. “I didn’t know if I was going to succeed as a musician.”
He further stated, “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to live to see tomorrow. And I remember I somehow got to see the film in theaters. I don’t know how I got in. It was such an escape from my real life that the film is tattooed in my brain.”
Within a few years, the Canadian icon’s life would shift as his career took off. When James Cameron reached out to The Weeknd to contribute to the soundtrack, it was a no-brainer. Now, “Nothing Is Lost” has been shortlisted for Best Original Song at this year’s upcoming Academy Awards.
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He additionally said, “They told me they had one name on the list to do the song, and it was me. It feels kismet, and it’s a full-circle moment for me to be a part of something like this.” It was “because it is such an important film for me.”
During the chat, THR asked The Weeknd about winning a Grammy for Kanye West’s “Hurricane.” That year, the singer didn’t submit his own music for consideration. His album After Hours was a record-breaking hit, but The Recording Academy previously snubbed the project and its singles.
“Again, I’m just grateful. Any kind of recognition, I’m grateful for it. I’m just happy to be in the conversation.”