Desplat Talks Film Scoring and Philomena

Oscar-nominated film composer Alexandre Desplat (Philomena) engaged in a lively conversation with Ashley Irwin (president of the Society of Composers & Lyricists) at the Polo Lounge on Sunday. He was accompanied by pianist Randy Kerber, who worked with him on Benjamin Button.

Of course, Philomena was very much on everyone’s mind among the invited guests, and Desplat discussed his latest collaboration with Stephen Frears. The strength of Judi Dench’s performance compelled him to keep the music simple. He craftily utilized a wistful carnival waltz as the ambiguous thread to evoke strength as well as sadness.  Desplat credited the music of Mozart with helping him understand the durability of a melody that can go from joyful to melancholy, which certainly applies here.

Desplat, despite a prodigious 50-film career, has not yet found the right project to inject his love of jazz, though this year will see no less than four of his films released:  the current Monuments Men (an homage to The Bridge of the River Kwai and The Great Escape), Godzilla (a tribute to Bernard Herrmann), Unbroken, the fact-based World War II prisoner of war drama directed by Angelina Jolie, and Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur, a sexually charged drama between an actress (Emmanuelle Seigner) and a director (Mathieu Amalric).

Indeed, after working with Polanski on The Ghost Writer, Desplat was convinced more than ever of the dreaded temp track, which the director never uses. The composer maintains that it’s overused in Hollywood and that you inevitably become a slave to it.  However, in The King’s Speech, Desplat didn’t mind using the requested Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony since there was no way to top it.  (Photo above courtesy of Clinton H. Wallace/Photomundo International.)

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Music, Oscar

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