I’ve been fascinated by the backstory of Superman’s home world as long as I’ve been reading DC Comics (which I did, a lot, back in the 1960s). So I was understandably curious about the new series Krypton, which debuted last night on the SyFy channel — and about what kind of music might accompany it. Turkish composer Pinar Toprak is scoring the series (entirely in her home studio, for a largely synthesized sound) and even providing all the background music for the pubs that Superman’s grandfather Seg-El frequents. Here is the Variety story I wrote about Toprak, who producer Cameron Welsh considers “a rising star” among Hollywood composers.
Monday was an especially fun day, as I got to break a story I’ve been working on for weeks — that the Oscar-winning French composer Michel Legrand was scoring his second Orson Welles film, The Other Side of the Wind — some 44 years after their collaboration on F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker’s final completed film. Welles shot this between 1970 and 1976 and had hoped for another Legrand score when it was finished — which, like so many Welles projects, never was. The producers who are completing Wind reached out to the composer last year and received an enthusiastic “yes.” I was lucky enough to get quotes from both producer Frank Marshall and Legrand for the story, which Variety published to a surprising and immediate global response.
One of the year’s most anticipated sci-fi extravaganzas, A Wrinkle in Time, features both a new song by Sade (her first for a film in over 30 years) and a score by Game of Thrones favorite Ramin Djawadi. Variety asked me to examine the music of the film, so I visited the scoring stage to watch Djawadi conduct and then interviewed director Ava DuVernay about her musical choices. (It turns out she’s a Game of Thrones addict and couldn’t wait to hire its musical architect for her adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel.)
Another awards season is finally in the books, with Sunday night’s Oscar telecast that saw Alexandre Desplat win for his Shape of Water score, and songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez for their song “Remember Me” from Coco. Variety kept me busy all weekend, writing the winner stories (score story here, including Desplat’s beating the statistical odds for a second time; song story here) and adding a Monday-morning story about Lopez becoming the first-ever double EGOT winner. A complete summary of Saturday and Sunday events — including the annual SCL Oscar reception, always a highlight of the weekend, is here.
On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Motion Picture Academy joined forces to present an evening-long celebration of film music, highlighting this year’s five Oscar-nominated film scores. But that was only the second half of the concert (featuring conductors John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, Carter Burwell and Thomas Wilkins). The first half took a fascinating look at various literary ideas (love, fear, courage, the chase, etc.) and how composers have musicalized those ideas over the years. Here is an overview of the concert; I was privileged to write the program notes for the evening.