For Variety‘s first Contenders issue of the year, I profiled four early scores that could be vying for “original score” honors as the 2017 awards season gets underway: Dario Marianelli’s music for Darkest Hour; Thomas Newman’s music for Victoria & Abdul; Carter Burwell’s music for Wonderstruck; and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ music for Wonder Woman. This is just the beginning, of course — there will be other stories about composers and songwriters during November and December, as the season progresses.
The third of my four stories in this week’s special issue of Variety deals with the music for this year’s big war movies, Hacksaw Ridge and Allied. I interviewed Rupert Gregson-Williams about working with Mel Gibson on the music of Hacksaw Ridge, and Alan Silvestri about Allied, his 16th feature film with director Robert Zemeckis. Both were illuminating, as the composers talked about going beyond the old war-movie cliches and finding new ways to illustrate, or deepen, the stories with music.
This week’s “Music for Screens” issue of Variety features two stories by me. The main story concerns Vienna’s new Synchron scoring stage, where Hans Zimmer has already recorded Inferno and Rupert Gregson-Williams has recorded music for the Netflix series The Crown. The backstory of the building is fascinating: Built in 1939-40 as a recording facility for films, it was home to many great classical artists in the 1950s and ’60s but eventually fell into disuse. An $11-million upgrade later, it’s now a “world-class” stage, according to composers and engineers who’ve worked there. Its operators hope it will get some of the spillover film-recording business that an overbooked London can’t currently accommodate. (A second story in the issue deals with Umlaut Audio, which creates custom sounds for busy composers in L.A.)