With Italian maestro Ennio Morricone arriving this week in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to give him a star on its Walk of Fame just two days before the Oscar ceremony — where he might just walk away with the award for his music for The Hateful Eight. Variety asked me to profile the 87-year-old legend, which meant calling him in Rome for some thoughts on his career, and reaching out to directors including Barry Levinson (Bugsy), Roland Joffe (The Mission) and Warren Beatty (Bulworth). Here is the main story; there is also (at least in print!) a sidebar listing “10 essential Ennio Morricone soundtracks” that allowed me to cite some of my favorites among his nearly 500 scores for film and television.
When Randy Newman was replaced by Jerry Goldsmith as the composer of the Harrison Ford thriller Air Force One, the Los Angeles Times asked me to write about it. It was news, of course, and I did interview both Goldsmith and director Wolfgang Petersen. But I tried to frame this unfortunate situation in a larger historical context by talking about the history of “rejected scores” including all the classics, from 2001 to Torn Curtain and The Battle of Britain. I also talked with Elmer Bernstein, no stranger to the phenomenon, and director Roland Joffe, who had tossed a couple of his own.