He’s ranked as the 10th highest grossing director in the world, he’s also collaborated with some mighty fine composers. Gore Verbinski is not short of something to say about music, film and composers. As his new film A Cure For Wellness is released in cinemas, I had the pleasure of spending time with Gore to sit down and chat film and music.
Oscar winning director Ang Lee has the most bombastic body of work and it’s almost impossible to predict what he will do next. It was a total joy to sit down and chat with him about his work and the place that music has in it. His infectious enthusiasm is quite exceptional and his love of music obvious.
Mike Mills is a very personal writer / director, so much of himself and his experiences flow into his films, be it Beginners or his new one 20th Century Women, both portraits of his parents. The music in all of them flows like the perfect playlist, which I think is aided by Mike’s phenomenal work in music videos over the years. I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did.
He’s not made that many films but the ones he has made are memorable, important and brilliant. Jeff Nichols is a joy to talk to and his enthusiasm for his craft is infectious. Midnight Special was one of my favourite films of 2016 and his new film Loving is touching, devastating and very tender and gentle. I think I could listen to him talk all day long.
I’ve been waiting a long time for this one and we only just, scratched the surface. Danny Boyle releases T2 Trainspotting 20 years after the first film had a life changing affect not just on those who starred in it but for the generation of film fans like me who fell in love with Renton, Spud, Begbie & Sick Boy. And there’s those songs! I hope this is the first of several chats I can have with Danny about his work and love of music in his films.
In our 2nd La La Land episode of Soundtracking I chat to Damien Chazelles friend, former room & band mate and composer Justin Hurwitz. A total gent and a joy to spend time with, I hope you enjoy this musical journey into how the pair have brought us such memorable productions over the last few years.
In my humble opinion this man has created a masterpiece. La La Land is an exceptional piece of work, a film I will be watching for years, decades to come. All the pieces of this musical jigsaw make up the complete picture, the songs, the cast, the script, the performances, the ending. His previous film Whiplash, a personal love letter to Jazz made such a lasting impression. I hope you enjoy our chat into his fascinating and fantastically creative musical mind.
John Michael McDonagh
To say John Michael McDonagh loves music, both as a companion and a tool in his film making, would be an understatement. When I was lucky enough to chat to him back around the theatrical release of his latest film, War On Everyone, he came armed with lists and notes on music. A pleasure to spend time with him, a pleasure to witness his passions.
This is our first new episode of a new year and from an astounding director, Juan Antonio Bayona. I remember the lasting impression The Orphanage had on me, how moved I was by The Impossible. His new film, an adaptation of the award winning Patrick Ness novel, A Monster Calls is outstanding. I hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I enjoyed talking to him.
It’s a brave man who not only adapts Shakespeare but then goes on to adapt a video game. This week’s guest Justin Kurzel having done just that.
Following his hugely well-received take on Macbeth, the Australian director has now turned his attention to Assassin’s Creed – a movie based on the video game franchise that has sold well over 100 million copies worldwide. Both projects are scored by his brother Jed, listen to Justin talks about his development of his style along side working with his brother.
In cinematic terms, it may very well just be the greatest story ever told. With its ground-breaking special effects, unforgettable cast of characters and universal themes, the original Star Wars trilogy has inspired and delighted film goers ever since A New Hope blew everyone away in 1977.
Among those to have felt its force is Gareth Edwards – the man charged with directing the latest addition to the franchise, Rogue One.
British director Sean Ellis has become a respected film maker with a stylistic approach that is urgent, visceral, and intense. With the help of composers Guy Farley and Robin Foster, he’s delivered soundscapes to match. From his Oscar Nominated short Cashback to the award winning Metro Manila, along with this years Anthropoid, Sean and his collaborators work incredibly affectively to twist our senes.
James Bobin has been part of some of the most colourful productions over the last 20 years that have taped into popular culture very specifically. He helped Sasha Baron Cohen create Ali G, Borat & Bruno was behind the most recent 2 Muppet Movies. He brought the fabulous Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie to our attention in Flight of the Conchords and this year he brought us his interpretation of Alice through The Looking Glass. A pleasure and a lot of fun to sit down and talk music with.
David Yates is such a wonderful, warm & honest man who has been seminal in fulfilling the full potential of bringing the Harry Potter books to life. He’s taken that relationship on further by making Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find them. Nicholas Hooper, Alexandre Desplat and James Newton Howard are just some of the names he’s collaborated with on the music in his films. A joy to spend time with and chat with, I hope you enjoy listening.
Writer, Actor, Director & Musician Christopher Guest has been involved in some of the funniest films ever made. Spinal Tap, A Might Wind and Best In Show make me chuckle even thinking about them. His specific style of mocumentary film making requires a certain style and approach to music. A wonderful opportunity to delve into the mind of a man who is most certainly a bit of a genius.
Mat Whitecross has had music at the core of so much of his work, Videos for Coldplay, a biopic on Ian Dury, a romantic comedy set to the backdrop of The Stone Roses Spike Island gig. And now his documentary, ‘Supersonic, charting a specific period of one of the most successful and loved bands of all time, Oasis. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the wonderful Mat Whitecross.
Derek Cianfrance has made a handful of films but in Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond The Pines and his new movie, Light Between Oceans he’s made a lasting impression on me both in his vision but also his sonic inspirations. The same could be said about sitting down and chatting with him, I had a blast. I hope you enjoy this latest Soundtracking episode as much as i did making it.
Nicholas Winding Refn
Award winning Danish film Director Nicholas Winding Refn talks about his latest film The Neon Demon which continues his fruitful relationship with composer Cliff Martinez. We also discover more about his sonic approach to film making both on set and in the editing room.
Director Ron Howard on the Music in His Films.
From child star to Academy Award winning director, Ron Howard has always made it his business to entertain. And entertain us he has – from A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and Frost / Nixon to his most recent offerings – the Beatles documentary Eight Days A Week and Dan Brown thriller Inferno.
My introduction to Andrea Arnold was through the award winning Fish Tank, a fantastic film. I was thrilled to get some time to sit down with around the release of her new film American Honey. It’s a vibrant, exhilarating trip with a young ‘mag crew,’ most of whom were genuinely part of that culture. To talk music and film with Andrea was a wonderful experience and as you can hear from the music she’s used, she a big fan.
Tate Taylor has worked with some of the best when it comes to scoring his movies. From The Help to depicting James Brown in Get On Up and now he brings us her big screen version of Paula Hawkins international bestseller The Girl On The Train, Tate know what he wants when it comes to soundscaping his film.
Thea Sharrock was the youngest ever artistic director at a British theatre when she joined the Southwark Playhouse in 2001 aged just 24. She went on to direct everywhere from the National to Broadway, working with the likes of Kevin Spacey, Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch & Daniel Radcliffe.
Now she’s turned her hand to the big screen with Me Before You – an adaptation of the international bestselling novel by Jo Jo Moyes. Her love of music is infectious and I hope you enjoy our journey talking Craig Armstrong, The Ramones and how she’s used music in Theatre, TV and now Film.
It’s a safe bet that any writer / director who borrows song titles to name his own films is something of an audiophile. Richard Linklater is unquestionably one of these. From Dazed and Confused To Boyhood and the so-called ‘Before’ Trilogy, he has forged a career making movies with a very specific sense of time and place – accompanied by soundtracks that appropriately underscore the mood he’s attempting to create.
His latest film continues this trend. Set in a fictional US college in 1980, Everybody Wants Some!! offers up a stonking array of contemporary tunes – from Donna Summer and Jermain Jackson to Blondie and The Sugarhill Gang. As with so much of his back catalogue, it’s also very funny and beautifully observed.
Though it’s impossible to pigeonhole the 9 feature films David Mackenzie has directed, there’s one thing they have in common: his obvious passion for music. His latest film Hell Or High Water is scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
So expect to be taken on a musical journey, with tracks from as Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Franz Ferdinand and The Bill Wells Trio among many others.