One of the fun parts of my job is interviewing many of the top music-makers in the film and TV world. Monday night, the performing-rights society ASCAP honored two deserving composers: Elliot Goldenthal (Alien 3, Interview With the Vampire, Heat, Titus) with the Founders Award, and Deborah Lurie (Safe Haven, Dear John, An Unfinished Life) with the Shirley Walker Award. Here I am talking with the great Goldenthal; here is part of my video interview with Lurie (and it was a special treat to write and narrate the video tribute to her); and here is an overview of the entire event, with more photos of highlights.
That’s the headline in the print version of this Variety story about composer Harry Gregson-Williams and the firestorm he ignited when he posted about how little was left of his score for Michael Mann’s cyber-thriller Blackhat, which opened last weekend. It was unusual for a composer to air this kind of complaint, although for those in the film-music biz it was no surprise to hear that the mercurial director sought out multiple composers to get the final “score” he wanted. My story goes into more detail, and offers more historical perspective, than any other.
I love writing about the non-film work of composers better known for their movie scores. Elliot Goldenthal has been commissioned to write his first symphony, and the Pacific Symphony — in addition to debuting the Goldenthal work — will also showcase pieces by James Horner and Howard Shore. Here’s a piece I wrote for Variety previewing them.
The L.A. Times asked for a piece linking Wagner’s 19th-century leitmotifs with today’s film music, notably that of Williams (in the Star Wars films) and Howard Shore (in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). It was an offbeat assignment that put me in touch with scholars who shared interesting perspectives.
This was one of the longest, most complicated, and yet important, stories I ever wrote for the L.A. Times: A 3,300-word examination of why studio musicians were losing work to non-union sites in the U.S. and abroad. Although written 17 years ago, it’s uncannily relevant today, as film-scoring work is leaving L.A. in droves and panic is setting in about how to stop it.