For Variety‘s final roundup of potential award nominees in the music categories, I covered nine scores and broke them down into three categories: Suspense (Michael Abels’ Get Out, Patrick Doyle’s Murder on the Orient Express, Carter Burwell’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri); films that centered on families (Jon Brion’s Lady Bird, Randy Newman’s The Meyerowitz Stories, Marcelo Zarvos’ Wonder); and music for animation (John Powell’s Ferdinand, Mychael and Jeff Danna’s The Breadwinner, Michael Giacchino’s Coco). It certainly was a diverse and fascinating year for original music in films.
Composer Patrick Doyle and director Kenneth Branagh, who have Murder on the Orient Express in this year’s awards competition, had never done a joint interview despite 30 years of collaboration in the movies and on the stage (including memorable scores for Henry V, Hamlet, Cinderella and Thor). So when the DGA Quarterly — the magazine of the Directors Guild of America — asked me to quiz them about their long and productive time together, I was delighted. The piece is in the Winter 2018 issue, which is now online.
The nice people at Fox asked me to conduct a 40-minute Q&A with actor-director Kenneth Branagh and composer Patrick Doyle after a screening of Murder on the Orient Express in the studio’s beautiful and great-sounding Zanuck Theatre. This was one of those evenings when I was able to remind myself how lucky I am to live here and get to meet (and interview) some of the artists who make the movies we love. Branagh was both articulate and expansive, telling amusing stories about the shooting of Orient Express (and that wild moustache he dons as Hercule Poirot), while the always delightful Doyle talked about working with Michelle Pfeiffer about the song he and Branagh penned for the film’s finale. A large crowd of members from various guilds attended.
A busy week of live audience Q&As after new movie screenings began on Tuesday at the beautiful Zanuck Theatre on the 20th Century-Fox lot. After a showing of the new Kenneth Branagh film Murder on the Orient Express, I interviewed Scottish composer — and longtime Branagh collaborator — Patrick Doyle about his score, and original song, for the film. Doyle is a delightful raconteur and the Society of Composers & Lyricists audience left informed and entertained. Composer John Powell, an old friend and colleague from late 1980s London, was also there and brought down the house with a few well-chosen quips.
I thought Patrick Doyle’s score for Disney’s new live-action Cinderella was the first great score of 2015: rich, sumptuous, filled with the grand romance befitting a fairy-tale princess and her handsome prince. I talked with the composer when he was here in L.A. for the premiere two weeks ago, as well as director Kenneth Branagh (with whom Doyle has enjoyed a nearly 30-year collaboration in both theater and film), and this week Variety published our conversation. I’ve known Doyle since the late 1990s — he is without a doubt one of the funniest men on the planet — and his recent work for Disney (including his delightful music for Pixar’s Brave) is some of his very best.