1. Q: First off, I’m a huge fan of your score for “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Do you have any plans to work with Wes Anderson again? Also, do you have any upcoming animation projects?
A: I have just finished working on Wes’s new film ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ which will be out later this year. It is a pleasure to work with Wes – he is a gentleman and a great artist. For animations, I will be working on a new Dreamworks film later this year, which I am looking forward to !
2. Q: How did it feel being the composer chosen to end the Harry Potter saga?
A: It was a pleasure to be chosen to write the score for the final parts of this epic saga. It has been a great adventure with a wonderfully talented cast and crew, so to be a part of that is an honour. Every single village in the world – and when I say village I mean from village to city – everyone knows and sees Harry Potter. I think it is the third biggest grossing film ever, and it gives you an idea of the pressure that is there. The composer for the first films was John Williams, who’s the master composer of American cinema, and yet you have to prove that you can challenge yourself and the audience to be moved, excited, thrilled, scared… It’s a huge, huge project, and we had it recorded with a huge orchestra and choir, which is always great.
3. Q: Recently, you’ve worked on “Carnage” and “The Ides of March”. What are the challenges of scoring close-knit dramas.
A: Every new project provides challenges and these were no exception. Both George Clooney and Roman Polanski are immensely talented artists, which makes the process very enjoyable. In Ides Of March, the challenge was to capture and underpin both the sense of war and the underlying doubt in the film. The doubt that allows someone to betray his friends and allies, the doubt that he’s on the right side. The instrumentation had to capture the fragility of this.
There is very little music in Carnage. Roman and I decided that the film would be served best by only having music for the opening and end titles. So, the challenge here was creating music that can introduce and audience to the film and also provide and appropriate ending.
4. Q: Any advice for music students interested in composing?
A: I would recommend that they invest time to truly learn there trade – studying composition, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration, reading and listening to music by the great masters (Bach, Debussy, Ravel….). Then if they want to work in film, they should also develop an understanding of on-screen drama and the role music can play, by watching and listening to the classic films and scores that have come before.
5. Q: You have quite a history in international cinema. Do your change your musical approach for American films?
My musical approach is similar for all the films that I score, but as the whole production process and the styles of film making differ between American and other cinema, the way that my approach is applied is often different. The filmmakers are all different, but the composer has the same exchange with the director. It’s always: how can I improve the movie with music? What’s my duty here, what can I do to help? Working with American directors or French directors or English directors actually is the same. It’s an exchange between two creators who know the crafts of their own and meet to put these crafts together and make them merge. At the end, I’m working for the director, he’s the one I need to fulfil with my score. Otherwise, I would write for the concert hall.
6. Q: What is your all-time favorite film score?
A: Vertigo – It is such an expertly crafted and effective score, both musically and in the role it plays in drama. Hitchcock and Hermann’s collaboration was one of the greatest.