Category Archives: Interview

Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

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Hans Zimmer talks Hannibal (2001)

Sequels are always a risky business; no matter how successful the original, there’s always the chance that a follow-up story will fall totally flat and ruin the story forever. Thankfully, such was not the case with Hannibal (2001), the follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Set ten years after the original story, Clarice Starling (now played by Julianne Moore) must locate Hannibal Lecter before a surviving victim (played brilliantly by Gary Oldman) tracks down the serial killer to exact his gruesome revenge. While it’s true that this film was met with mixed reviews by the critics, I found Hannibal to be a very thrilling story, especially the last third. Anthony Hopkins is such a compelling presence when he’s onscreen, and he plays the role with so many layers that you can watch the film multiple times and see a new interpretation each time.

Of course the film wouldn’t be nearly as good without its musical score, which was composed by Hans Zimmer. In this wonderful interview, both Zimmer and director Ridley Scott talk about the music and how it came together. Scott believes that the music is just as important as the dialogue and so the score is crafted accordingly. Hannibal marked the fourth time that the director and composer collaborated on the same project, and you can tell that they’ve developed a good working relationship with each other.

Zimmer describes Hannibal as a “haunting story” and that the music must be haunting as well to match it, and I believe he totally succeeded in accomplishing this. One thing about Hannibal (the character) that always fascinated me is his love of the classical, be it art, poetry or music. The score reflects this to a large degree, as Hans Zimmer wrote several choral pieces in an early classical style for certain scenes involving the titular character. It was amazing to learn about the score for this haunting film, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Hans Zimmer, see here

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Have a good weekend!

Michael Giacchino talks Zootopia (2016)

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Michael Giacchino talks Zootopia (2016)

While I am still profoundly irked that Zootopia beat out Kubo and the Two Strings for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, I cannot deny that the film has a pretty good musical score. Composed by the talented Michael Giacchino, the music of Zootopia features a world-music vibe to cover the vast array of species (and ways of life) highlighted in the story.

If you haven’t seen Zootopia, the film follows bunny Judy Hopps as she becomes the first rabbit on the Zootopia police force, in a city where (in theory) any animal can become anything they want to be, regardless of whether they are considered “hunter” or “prey” species. This notion is tested when Judy is put on a (seemingly hopeless) case that she must solve in a very short time or lose her job, and to complicate matters, she must work with a fox.

In this behind the scenes clip, Giacchino takes us to the recording studio and introduces five percussionists who helped create Zootopia’s unique sound. While the main orchestra is best recognized in any film score, often the percussion is overlooked (or worse, lost in the sound mix), so it’s great to see not only how they used percussion instruments in the score, but also how the percussion ties everything together at key moments.

My thanks to Michael Giacchino for giving us this inside look into part of the scoring process for Zootopia, which really is a great film despite my grumblings. I hope you enjoy the video and if you haven’t tried Zootopia before, please take a chance and check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

Disturbing Disney will return tomorrow with a scene from Dumbo (1941) that I found deeply traumatizing as a child (not to mention profoundly cruel). Until then, enjoy the day!!

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Michael Giacchino, see here

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook ๐Ÿ™‚

John Debney scoring Predators (2010)

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John Debney scoring Predators (2010)

In an age where sequels are being made left and right, it surprised no one when, after a gap of 20 years, a third installment of the Predator franchise was released. Predators (unlike the previous two installments) takes place on an alien planet and follows a group of mercenaries and other “undesirables” that have been abducted and taken to this planet, which we learn serves as a game preserveย for the Predator civilization. The group, including Royce (Adrien Brody) and Isabelle (Alice Braga) must evade a group of hunters while also trying to find a way off the planet to get home.

The film was released with mixed to positive reviews, with some saying the sequel finally hit the mark set by the original film and others saying it still lacks the quiet suspense that made the first film so good.

The score was composed by John Debney, although it was briefly speculated that Alan Silvestri would return to the franchise (having scored Predator and Predator 2). The clip I found is from a scoring session for the film and provides a tantalizing glimpse of the recording process. The one thing that will always amaze me about film music is how many details you can hear when the dialogue and sound effects are removed from the mix. Hearing this brief excerpt of music makes me wish I’d seen this film when it was released (it’s been on my “to watch” list for the last seven years).

Have you seen Predators? Did you think it was worth seeing? Let me know in the comments below, and I hope you enjoy watching this brief excerpt from the scoring session for the film.

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of John Debney, see here

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook ๐Ÿ™‚

John Debney talks The Scorpion King (2002)

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John Debney talks The Scorpion King (2002)

Let’s face it: you either love The Scorpion King or you absolutely hate it, there is no middle ground.

This spin-off of The Mummy Returns is set 5,000 years before the original Mummy films and tells the story of how Mathayus (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his first film as a leading man) rose to power as the “Scorpion King.”

The orchestral score for this film was composed by John Debney; this music was mixed in with various rock songs (the latter are what appear on the soundtrack album for the film). In the extended “making of the score” video which you can access in the link above, there are numerous shots of the orchestra in the recording studio with the in-progress film playing on a large screen for the conductor’s reference. As I’ve said before, this is the stage of film music production that I love the best, and I hope to witness it in person one day.

Debney (and the film’s director) discuss how various parts of the score came together, including the overall sound of the music. Since this is meant to take place long before any recorded history, Debney did not want to invoke one culture above another, but instead wanted to create a sense of something new and unfamiliar. The director also discussed including a touch of rock music, and thus giving the film something of a more contemporary feel in certain places. This is really one of the better interviews I’ve found for the making of a film score and even if you’ve never seen The Scorpion King, I really think you will enjoy it.

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of John Debney, see here

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John Debney talks The Passion of the Christ (2004)

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John Debney talks The Passion of the Christ (2004)

The Passion of the Christ (2004) is a film that is not easily forgotten once you’ve seen it. This was the first R-rated film I ever saw in theaters (the youth group I was in went to see it one weekend, we all had to get our parents to sign waivers since we were under 18) and it’s a film that physically impacted me for weeks afterward.

For those who haven’t seen it, The Passion of the Christ details the final twelve hours of the life of Jesus, from his arrest to his crucifixion (with a short epilogue on the day of his resurrection). The entire film is subtitled, with the primary languages being Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin (to make the story feel more authentic). The film was directed by Mel Gibson and was a huge hit upon release, although many criticized the extreme graphic violence in certain scenes (I personally have only been able to see this film three times since 2004).

The ย score that accompanies this film was composed by John Debney (The Jungle Book) and it is widely regarded as a masterpiece of film music. In the extended video which you can reach via the link above, Debney (and Mel Gibson) discuss how various themes came together, primarily Satan’s theme and the theme for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Interestingly, instead of using a traditional ensemble, or using only instruments that might have been heard in ancient Jerusalem, Debney opted to use a more global sound (Satan’s theme, for instance, is created with a traditional Chinese instrument), as this is a story that Gibson wanted to be accessible to everyone.

The music for The Passion of the Christ really is beautiful, and I do recommend this film as well, but with one major caveat: if graphic violence disturbs you, do NOT watch this film. The torture segments (particularly the flogging scene) are very bloody, and could easily be traumatizing.

Have you seen The Passion of the Christ? What did you think of it, or the music? Let me know in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of John Debney, see here

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Patrick Doyle Talks Cinderella (2015)

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Patrick Doyle talks Cinderella (2015)

In 2015 Cinderella became the latest Disney animated film to undergo the live-action remake treatment and the results were….okay (depending on who you ask). The biggest change between the 1950 original and this version is that the latter is not a musical (which I think is a real shame).

Unlike Maleficent, which told the Sleeping Beauty story from the perspective of the titular character, Cinderella basically retold the story straight (with various changes here and there, but nothing too extreme). And as beautiful as it looked in the previews, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, as I grew up watching the animated film. Also, no offense, but Cate Blanchett has NOTHING on Eleanor Audley when it comes to playing Lady Tremaine (I watched a few clips to get an idea of the film).

One bright spot is Patrick Doyle’s score, created with an emphasis on romance. Doyle frequently collaborates with director Kenneth Branagh (including Hamlet and Thor) and the resulting music was well-received by critics. Doyle briefly mentions the score in a red carpet interview I was able to find for the film’s premiere (available in the link above). Doyle enjoyed creating the music for this film and described it as being “very eclectic.”

Unfortunately it is a very short interview, but I hope you enjoy it (if anyone can point me to a longer interview regarding this film, I will happily add it) ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m glad everyone is enjoying Disturbing Disney so far; I just wanted to let you know that the next installment will come next week. Right now the university is on spring break and I’m working extra hours so I don’t have a lot of time to work on that series right now (that’s why I’ve been doing smaller posts thus far).

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Patrick Doyle, see here

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James Newton Howard talks The Village (2004)

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James Newton Howard talks The Village (2004)

Like practically every M. Night Shyamalan film ever created, The Village is a strange film. An isolated village in the middle of the forest lives in fear of strange “monsters” that inhabit the woods all around them, but (as you might expect from a Shyamalan film), things are not exactly what they appear to be.

I’ve never actually seen this film all the way through, but I do recall my jaw smacking the floor when I read a synopsis and found out what the big twist in the story was. Depending on who’s watching, you either see the twist coming a mile away or you have no idea what’s coming at all (I’m definitely the latter).

What I DO know about this film is its soundtrack. This is another example of the work of James Newton Howard (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), in fact his work on this score earned him his fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score (unfortunately he lost to Finding Neverland). This short video takes us into the scoring process for The Village and highlights the contributions of Hilary Hahn, the violinist whose solo work is one of the best parts of the soundtrack. It’s always fun to learn about the scoring process of a film, and even though I’m not the biggest fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s work, I did enjoy watching how the score for The Village came together, and I hope you enjoy it too.

If you’ve seen The Village, let me know what you thought of the film in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of James Newton Howard, see here

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