Exclusive Interview : Marco Beltrami

Talks to Clint about “The Eye” Sountrack

One of today’s most in-demand movie-music maestros, Marco Beltrami has made a name for himself as the go-to man for horror movie scores – having worked on such memorable mixes for ‘’Scream’’, ‘’Dracula 2000’’, ‘’The Omen’’ and now, ‘’The Eye’’. Now though, with an Oscar Nomination for the western ‘’3:10 to Yuma’’ under his belt, Beltrami’s career looks set to rocket beyond things-that-go-bump-in-the-night music. CLINT MORRIS goes one-on-one with the talented muso.

Congratulations on the Oscar Nomination.
Thank You, Thank You very much.

Is that exciting?
It was very exciting. Composers are pretty much a solitary group so to get that kind of recognition is just wonderful. Over the past couple of months people have been very supportive and complimentary on the score, so you know it must be good, and the nomination is an affirmation of that.

Are the offers rolling in now?
No, not really [Laughs]. I’ve heard from others [that have been nominated] that it ultimately helps, but I haven’t seen any real increase in offers. I’ve had meetings and all but I haven’t really noticed any difference yet.

Patrick [Lussier] has talked highly of you for years. In fact, I believe the first time I met with him he handed me a CD of the ‘’Dracula’’ soundtrack and insisted I listen to it.
That’s great. Patrick has been great to me – I worked with him on my very first major movie and he’s since taught me a lot about scoring. We’ve done maybe half-a-dozen movies now.

That was a great score – the ‘’Dracula 2000’’ score. You definitely know how to score a horror movie… but would you say it’s your signature genre?
I think it’s more on a picture-by-picture basis. I would never have guessed that I had been suited well to the horror genre, but it’s turned out that way. I guess what’s happened is that some of the horror movies I’ve done, like Scream, have been successful and then other people want me to work on their [horror] pictures. If there’s one genre I’m not too keen on its comedies… but otherwise I’m open to all genres.

You and Patrick re-teamed for ‘’The Eye.’’ He was bought in for the re-shoots, so I assume you were already onboard?
No. He brought me on board.

Oh really? So somebody else was doing the score before?
I believe so – in fact I saw the poster at the movie theatre and it had some other composer’s name on it.

Oh lovely!
Yeah [Laughs]. Patrick took over the film as director and editor and that’s when he asked whether I’d be interested in scoring it – which, of course, I was. I didn’t see the film before [Patrick] came onboard, so I don’t know exactly what he did, but I hear it wasn’t working so well.

And where did you start with the score for ‘’The Eye’’? Did you watch the film first?
I did yeah. They had a screening then I spoke with Patrick about some ideas… and pretty much that was it.

Does he give you much direction?
There were a few scenes where he had some notes on what producers liked – what kind of music they liked. There were a few scenes that were tricky – one of them was the scene at the end where Jessica Alba, who is on the violin, and the orchestra are playing. The piece of music that she was playing was already written and the scene had been filmed but it wasn’t working so Patrick suggested that we actually have her playing the theme – the movie’s theme. They wanted something a little more climatic for the end of the movie and the current music didn’t work so this would work better. Considering, as I said, the scene had already been shot so doing that scene, after the fact, was very difficult. That was probably the biggest challenge of the picture.

Are you happy with the finished result?
Yes, it came out real good.

Lets go back a bit, I enjoyed your score for ‘’Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines ‘’– but tell me, where do you start with something like that? Do you have to listen to the score of the first two films and try and emulate it?
No, in fact it was the opposite – the director [Jonathan Mostow] didn’t want it to sound like any of the other movies, he wanted it to be its own thing. He said “You can do a homage to Brad Fedel (who scored the first two movies) in the end credits or something but I don’t want you to use his score in the movie at all”. We took a lot of flack for that from fans of the first two movies.

Are you working on ‘’Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins’’?
Um, no…. I don’t know, we’ve talked about it a little bit but nothing’s been worked out. I hear they may want to start fresh again with that, but I don’t know.

What have you been working on lately?
I’ve been scoring a film by Bertrand Tavernier called In The Electric Mist and, er, what can I say? I was real excited to be working on it because its all Cajun inspired, and I got to research that, but unfortunately now there are problems with the director and the producers and it’s turned into a little bit of a scramble. I don’t even know when we’re going to be scoring it. It has potential to be a good project.

I guess you could say the same about ‘’Cursed’’?
Oh yeah, exactly – though a very different kind of movie.

What they shot that 9 times or something? [Laughs]
Yeah, I know.

I’ve still got the T-Shirt here ‘Cursed 4 : Back For More’!
[Laughs]. That’s funny!

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