German-born, California-based composer Marc Streitenfeld (Prometheus, American Gangster) had big shoes to fill when he took on the Poltergeist remake that opens this weekend. Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the original 1982 film is now something of a classic. The new Poltergeist was enough of an angle for Variety to propose a profile of the composer, which I broke into three stories: a main story about his odyssey from Munich to L.A. and the connection with Ridley Scott that jump-started his career; a secondary story in which I interview directors about working with him; and a third story about his challenge of scoring a haunted-house tale with modern twists. He’s now writing music for the new Amazon series Hand of God starring Ron Perlman.
Bob Drasnin was one of the last of the great composers of the classic era of TV that spanned the 1950s through the 1980s. He scored everything from The Twilight Zone and Playhouse 90 to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible. I was proud to have included excepts from all of his U.N.C.L.E. music on the albums I produced for FSM a few years ago. In his later years he was a teacher and mentor to dozens if not hundreds of film-scoring students… and he was a nice guy with great, often very funny, stories about his years in the trenches. Here is the obituary I wrote for Variety; and here is a longer, more detailed appreciation of his work.
Alexandre Desplat and Chris Montan (the Oscar-winning composer of The Grand Budapest Hotel and president of music for the Walt Disney Company, respectively) took top honors at this year’s BMI Film and TV Music Awards dinner. Here is my overview of the evening’s speeches and additional awards. Part of the fun, though, was doing the on-camera interviews on the red carpet — some of which are now showing up online. This link will take you to my brief chats with Desplat, Montan, Brian Tyler (talking about doing Marvel movies), Fil Eisler (Revenge) and Gwendolyn Sanford (Orange Is the New Black).