This week’s “Music for Screens” issue of Variety features two stories by me. The main story concerns Vienna’s new Synchron scoring stage, where Hans Zimmer has already recorded Inferno and Rupert Gregson-Williams has recorded music for the Netflix series The Crown. The backstory of the building is fascinating: Built in 1939-40 as a recording facility for films, it was home to many great classical artists in the 1950s and ’60s but eventually fell into disuse. An $11-million upgrade later, it’s now a “world-class” stage, according to composers and engineers who’ve worked there. Its operators hope it will get some of the spillover film-recording business that an overbooked London can’t currently accommodate. (A second story in the issue deals with Umlaut Audio, which creates custom sounds for busy composers in L.A.)
John Debney, the Oscar-nominated composer of The Passion of the Christ and many other scores from Elf to The Princess Diaries, had a dream-come-true assignment recently: scoring Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book. He practically grew up on the Disney lot, was best friends with the boy who voiced Mowgli in the ’67 animated version, and even knew the legendary Sherman Brothers (who wrote most of the songs). His symphonic score for the well-reviewed new film is masterful, and I got to talk with him — as well as director Jon Favreau — in this piece for Variety.