Category Archives: Interview

Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

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Hans Zimmer talks The Road to El Dorado (2000)

While it wasn’t a big hit at the time, 17 years later there is still a soft spot in my heart for The Road to El Dorado. The story follows two Spanish con-men, Miguel (Kenneth Branagh) and Tulio (Kevin Kline) as they accidentally stow away on the ship of Hernan Cortes on his way to conquer whatever empires of the New World he may come across, and end up discovering the legendary city of gold, El Dorado, where they are mistaken for gods.

(I wrote about one of the film’s songs here)

And yes, I admit, the music has something to do with why I like this film as much as I do. With the orchestral score composed by Hans Zimmer, the music is a blend of Spanish sounds (heard mostly in the beginning of the film) and a “New World” sound that takes over once Miguel and Tulio discover El Dorado. I was delighted to discover a full length behind the scenes look at creating the score for this movie, with thoughts from Hans Zimmer, Elton John (who worked with Tim Rice on the songs) and also Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, the voices of Miguel and Tulio.

With my allergies giving me hell today (and most of the week if I’m honest), I’m going to keep this post a little shorter than normal, but I will say you will enjoy this video. And if you haven’t given The Road to El Dorado a try, I sincerely hope that you give the movie a chance. It has terrific animation and, as I’ve said, a wonderful musical score.

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

The 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner blogathon is coming in June, check out the sign up page here

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Carter Burwell talks Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

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Carter Burwell talks Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

I was surprised when Where the Wild Things Are became a motion picture in 2009. As a kid, I remember having this book read to me and I enjoyed it very much, but it didn’t seem like the best story to adapt into a movie (after all, it isn’t very long). But to my surprise, the movie actually turned out to be very good. If you haven’t read the book before, the story in brief is about a young boy named Max who sails to a magical island inhabited by oversized monsters. Max makes himself their king and rules over them for a while until he becomes homesick and returns to where he came from. The film expands on this story quite a bit, but the basic elements remain the same.

While Carter Burwell might not be a name as familiar as, say, John Williams, James Horner or Brian Tyler, he has done a fair share of great film scores. He composed several scores for the Twilight series (Twilight; Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2) and collaborated six times with director Bill Condon. Burwell has certainly done some interesting work over the years.

And the composer has some interesting thoughts to share on the story’s musical score, as seen in the video above. For instance, once Max arrives on the island “where the wild things are”, the composer thought it appropriate to completely change the music from something familiar to something more exotic (like using non-traditional instrumentation). One part involves literally banging on pots and pans to create a musical effect. The idea is that these are things you might literally find on the forest floor on the island. Using non-traditional items to create music is always exciting and I had no idea that Burwell and his fellow musicians had done this to create the music for Where the Wild Things Are.

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

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Danny Elfman talks Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

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Danny Elfman talks Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Let me just start by saying that I am not a fan of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy; not the books or the movies. I don’t like the concept behind the story (did you know this started as Twilight fanfiction?) and it just…*shudders* it doesn’t sit well with me.

That being said…my ears perked up with interest when I discovered that Danny Elfman wrote the score for Fifty Shades of Grey (and he has also scored Fifty Shades Darker). I have been a fan of Elfman’s work ever since I first heard the music for Batman (1989) and I was surprised to hear that he is working on this film trilogy. Elfman isn’t the first composer I would think of when it comes to dark romantic films, but to each his own.

I can’t recommend this film, but it was interesting to briefly hear Elfman’s thoughts on how he put the important musical themes together for this story.

Now I have to ask, for those of you who may have seen Fifty Shades of Grey, did you like it at all? Was it worth seeing? I would love to hear your comments on this film, so let me know in the comments below 🙂

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

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Brian Tyler talks War (2007)

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Brian Tyler talks War (2007)

War is a film that I have not seen but I’m sure I would like, given that it stars Jet Li and Jason Statham. The film is the directorial debut of Philip G. Atwell and tells the story of FBI agent John Crawford (Statham) who becomes obsessed with hunting down an assassin named Rogue (Li) after he brutally murders his partner. But, as it turns out, the story isn’t nearly as straightforward as it seems, there are some mind-blowing twists involved.

In the interview (which can be accessed in the link above), Tyler explains that he was approached to work on War after the premiere of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), and after watching some footage from the film-in-progress, he begged for the chance to score the film.

A major element of the story involves the Chinese Triad going to war with the Japanese Yakuza. As a result, Tyler created a musical blend using Chinese and Japanese instruments against one another to symbolize the growing conflict between the two groups.

I have to say, looking at Brian Tyler’s work has given me a completely new appreciation for action films and their music. A lot of people write off action films as being “mindless” or somehow “less than” bigger dramatic films, but I think action films can be just as good as any other film genre if they’re done properly.

It was really exciting learning how Brian Tyler created the score for War and I hope you enjoy the interview too.

In a brief update from yesterday, I’m still feeling a little under the weather; so Disturbing Disney will have to wait until Monday. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Michael Giacchino talks Super 8 (2011)

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Michael Giacchino talks Super 8 (2011)

What do you get when J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg collaborate together on a film? In the case of Super 8, we got a science-fiction thriller film about a strange alien invading a town in Ohio while a group of kids are shooting a movie on Super 8 film. The film did well (despite some comparisons to E.T.), though I didn’t watch it myself (I was distracted by graduating from college at the time). As with all J.J. Abrams films (except for The Force Awakens), the score was composed by Michael Giacchino, who talks with us in the behind-the-scenes clip for the making of the score of Super 8.

What’s cool about this clip is that we get to hear Giacchino talking about his memories of shooting home movies on Super 8 film back in the day, and we even get to see a few clips from said films.

It’s always great to listen to Michael Giacchino discussing his work, and I hope you enjoy his talk about Super 8.

I know this is shorter than what I usually do, but I’m still recovering from a really busy weekend and I really wanted to give you something to enjoy until tomorrow 🙂

And speaking of…Disturbing Disney returns tomorrow with my first entry from Bambi (1942), a film that pioneered the “horrifying death of a parent” decades before The Lion King ripped our hearts out with the death of Mufasa.

Also, I wanted to share that Film Music Central has gained 2,000+ hits in a month for the first time ever and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who comes to visit the blog, this is a milestone I’ve been hoping to hit for a long time 🙂

Alright, that’s enough from me for today, I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow with Disturbing Disney #5

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 🙂

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 🙂

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

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