Variety, which has been making a much greater effort to cover the Hollywood music scene this year, launched its inaugural Music for Screens Summit on Tuesday, October 30. I was privileged to moderate the score-composer panel, which I dared to declare the most diverse ever — Turkish-born Pinar Toprak (who is starting Captain Marvel), Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg (about to unveil Mortal Engines), Swedish-born Ludwig Goransson (Black Panther), German-Iranian Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones), African-American composer Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman) and New Yorker Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place). It was a wide-ranging discussion, covering everything from diversity issues to film — and, by extension, film scores — becoming part of the ongoing cultural conversation in America. Video of the entire session is here.
Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, has been quietly toiling for the past decade in Hollywood, contributing bits and pieces to films like Catwoman, The Dark Knight Rises and Inception. But in the past three years he’s really broken out, partnering with his friend Hans Zimmer on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and creating powerful original scores like Mad Max: Fury Road. Last year he scored the surprise hit Deadpool and he’s now working on both Justice League and The Dark Tower. For a story in this week’s issue of Variety, I visited Tom’s studio and quizzed him about his past and future in films.
My latest SoundWorks Collection interview is with Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg (formerly known as producer-performer Junkie XL). His latest film is Black Mass, which stars Johnny Depp as Boston crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger. It’s very different from his Mad Max: Fury Road score in that it prominently features solo cello (played by Steve Erdody), a large string orchestra, piano and even pipe organ. Up next for him: a collaboration with Hans Zimmer on Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice for next year.