Tag Archives: John Debney

John Debney (and Tom Morello) talk Iron Man 2 (2010)

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John Debney (and Tom Morello) talk Iron Man 2 (2010)

It’s hard to create a sequel that lives up to the awesomeness that was the original Iron Man film, but Iron Man 2 did a pretty good job. The film follows Tony Stark after he publicly reveals that he is Iron Man to the world. See, as it turns out, the palladium in the arc reactor that’s keeping Tony alive is also slowly killing him, so he begins to live life very recklessly (as he doesn’t have much time to live). But there are other problems: Ivan Vanko, determined to seek vengeance on Stark, builds his own arc reactor and sets out to kill him. (This is also the film that introduces Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow.)

While the film’s score features a healthy selection of rock songs (including two from AC/DC), the orchestral score was composed by John Debney and Tom Morello. The above video featurette details how Debney collaborated with Morello to create the score for the film.

Some have criticized the MCU for not having a “consistent” sound, which is to be expected since multiple composers have been employed to score these films, but I think each composer puts their own unique twist to each installment of the MCU, and Iron Man 2 is no exception. I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at the making of this film’s score.

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

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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 preserve 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

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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  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 🙂

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

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John Debney talks The Jungle Book (2016)

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John Debney talks The Jungle Book (2016)

It’s no secret that I have mixed feelings about the live-action Disney remakes. It just so happens that The Jungle Book (2016) is one I dislike, only because I have very strong feelings for the animated original. My own feelings for the work aside, I have heard that the score was well done, not surprising since it was composed by John Debney (his musical magnum opus remains the score for The Passion of the Christ (2004)).

In this short interview, Debney talks about how he came to work on the score for the film, what kind of vision the director had and how Mowgli needed a theme of his own. But that’s not all I discovered. I also found a B-roll of footage from the scoring sessions, and I’m pleased to share it with you here. Please note around 1:58-2:00 the giant score that the composer is flipping through. You can also see a beat counter next to his head at the beginning of the video.

The Jungle Book scoring session B-Roll (2016)

I love watching scoring sessions, it’s something I really hope to witness firsthand someday in the future. I hope you enjoy this interview and the footage from the soundstage. I have a lot more interviews queued up and I can’t wait to finally get them published!

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

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