Beaks: Were any of these jettisoned scenes scored?
Kelly: Yes. It's funny: Win and Regine loved the chase, but it kept going in and out of the movie. So they were finally like, "You know what? We're going to score it anyway." Just in case there's ever a longer version of the movie, they scored the whole thing.
[Kelly and I now go into a spoiler-heavy discussion of a cue from the end of the film. Basically, I thought a certain piece of music ended abruptly (not in a bad way), and wondered if there was more to that scene. Kelly said there wasn't.]
Beaks: That's interesting. Obviously, I love their score.
Kelly: The band pretty much had final say over how their score was edited. And I was more than comfortable allowing them that. When I cut their score in, Win had a few notes, and Regine had a few notes, but I was more than fine with their notes because they understood the story so well. It was the easiest collaboration. They actually helped keep me sane and emotionally grounded throughout the whole process. They were an extra set of eyes. The saw twelve or fourteen cuts of the movie, and they were constantly there to give me thoughts about the cut. They were really helpful.
Beaks: But if they had final say on how the music was cut, doesn't that mean they had some say on how the actual film was cut?
Kelly: That was something I promised them. I said, "Don't worry. I know you're signing contracts here, but, as a filmmaker, I promise you that you're going to be happy with how the score is cut. And if you're not, let me know." I trusted them with that. And at the end of the day, we were on the same page. We maybe had a short little debate here or there, but I trusted them. It's their music. They understand how to deliver, and they understand story. It was a very specific collaboration with people I have so much respect for as artists. This was not a traditional composer-for-hire situation. It was something where they invested a lot of their time and energy into creating this specific kind of music. They were really proud of it. And they just wanted to make sure that it was used and edited properly - and I don't blame them.
Beaks: So are they film buffs?
Beaks: Could you, like, reference a cue from a specific Hitchcock film and know they'd pick up on it?
Kelly: When I met Win backstage after their show in September of 2007, before we'd started shooting, I handed him a script and a CD of Bernard Herrmann's VERTIGO. I was like, "If you get a chance, try to read it." I didn't expect to hear back from him; I figured it was just a long shot. But he called me the next day and said, "Regine and I read the script, and we had a really strong emotional connection to it. We think this could be really cool. Keep in touch." So when I wrapped, I sent them the rough cut. I don't think I sent them the three-hour rough cut, because... (Laughs) and that was really an assembly. I shouldn't say "rough cut".
Beaks: It was your "chaos draft".
Kelly: It was the "Talking Fox cut". The "Chaos Reigns assembly". (Laughs) But I think I sent them the two-hour, twenty-five-minute cut. Then they did twelve demos, and they were like, "If you don't like the demos, tell us you don't like them now because we're not going to keep going." And the demos were fantastic; they were so on the money. And then it was just about getting to the finish line, and making sure they were protected. At the end of the day, it was something everyone was happy with.
This was not a regular composer-for-hire job. This was a massive collaboration with an additional artist that had a significant amount of power - which I helped facilitate. They had creative control.
Beaks: Without you giving up control of the film?
Kelly: Right. Normally, when you sign a deal with a studio, they can use the score to sell vacuum cleaners with CGI cartoon characters and dead people; they can score a theme-park ride with it. We wanted to make sure that was not the case ever with their music. I was more than happy to give them as much creative control as possible.
And the score will get released at some point. Right now, they have a new album coming out, so their record label doesn't want to be throwing something else into the marketplace. I think they're going to put the score out in conjunction with the Blu-ray/DVD release, but I'm not sure. That's why I did the prequel music-video thing on YouAreTheExperiment.com. I just wanted to get the music out there, and give people a little taste of it. But they really want people to discover the music as part of the theatrical experience. There's something exciting about having to go to the theater to hear the score, as opposed to just having it on iTunes. You'll be able to get it on iTunes later on. That's actually a really cool philosophy that I agree with them on.
Because the music score business has become such a boutique thing. I don't know of any studio or record label right now that's excited about releasing a film score. The expense of releasing it doesn't even balance out with the income. It's sad, because I love film scores. I have them on my iPod. It's some of my favorite music. I wish there were more people who felt that way.
Beaks: So did they use 70s instrumentation?
Kelly: Yes. The score was recorded over four days in Toronto. It was two days of strings, a day of brass, and a day of percussion. It was recorded at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in downtown Toronto, and all of the musicians were obviously classically trained. But there was a specific style that they were going for: they wanted it to sound very vintage and raw; they wanted the strings to sound rough around the edges. And they didn't want everything to sound all glossy and... computer smoothed-out.
Beaks: They didn't want Pro Tools.
Kelly: Right. They wanted it to sound like a vintage 1970s score. And a lot of the additional instruments that were used were very specific to the 1970s. They used a lot of Mellotron and stuff like that.
Beaks: If I were to place the score anywhere in Herrmann's oeuvre, I'd say it's definitely reflective of his 1970s collaborations with Scorsese and De Palma.
Kelly: Yes. Definitely.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Extract from an interview Ain't It Cool News (Beaks) did with Richard Kelly.