Edward Shearmur - Gosh! It’ funny because in a lot of those cases I deliberately tried to kind of put what had been already written for some of theses movies out of my mind. When you’re on a film that parodies different styles you’re in dangerous territory already. So I didn’t really try to listen to what has already been written and to mimic it. I think you just try to work on the spirit: the edge of someone like Danny Elfman, Harry Gregson Williams’ music for the Narnia film has a very classic, fantasy quality to it and I think once you captured the spirit of these composers, the music just follows on from that. I really didn’t try to just take the ark of an existing melody and joke it down. It’s more about the spirit.
So, from what material did you take your inspiration?
As I said, it would have been very dangerous for me to look at the original materials too closely, and in some cases, you know, I hadn’t seen some of the movies they were parodying, which I think is actually an advantage.
It’s a true challenge to resume the spirit of a composer in keeping with your own personality.
Once you can identify the characteristic, of a particular cue or a particular score that make it special – in Danny’s case, they are qualities in the orchestration, the use of voices, a certain tempo, and a rhythmic style – you’ve got that in the back of your mind and you have the skill to make it authentic, but it’s also very particularly applied to this movie.
We can easily recognize the Harry Potter style or the Narnia style, but there’s not much of the Mediaventures style in your treatment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
I just didn’t have twenty people programming for me that could help deliver that. On this film we didn’t have the resources to recreate exactly those sounds. For the Mediaventures stuff, orchestrally, we had a very limited budget to work with. We just tried to make it work on screen.
Can you tell me about the temp track that was done for the movie?
Sometimes, they used the music of the film they were parodying, but sometimes they had edited specific cues when comic beats had to be matched; it was just a way the comedy worked.
The film is of course a comedy, but you seem to have treated all these styles with great respect.
Thank you for the question. Generally for me, the music doesn’t want to work so much as a comic media. The comedy should rise out of the situation, out of the characters, and the music should be the straight guy in the drama. I worked the same way with Rowan Atkinson on Johnny English: the music was playing absolutely straight, trying to play the drama, and very occasionally we had a comedic gesture. That was the exception rather than the rule.
No, not really. I don’t know if I saw any of them around the time we were doing it. I worked for that film for a few weeks and I have just had fun with it. It’s not the kind of movie I would classify as being the most representative of what I do. Sometimes you find yourself doing something that’s out of you way, and Epic Movie was one of those.
Your music really stands by itself, and I wonder why they didn’t make a cd out of it?
You’re very kind. The film did ok at the box office but these days, the release of soundtracks and cds has changed a lot from what it was five years ago. It was just one of those scores that just works with the film. I’m really happy that it worked that way but soundtracks deals just don’t come these days as regularly has they used to.
I think it’s unlikely. I’m not sure about what the team of the movie is doing at the moment. I think they may do Scary Movie 5 right now or something like that.
I think one of the things that appealed me in doing it was the opportunity to kind of sample a lot of different styles and to treat then from a crossed point of view. There were things that were going on on screen that were terribly inspiring. Sometime, especially for a film music composer, it’s nice to find the mechanic of making this sound and working the right way. That’s really how I approached it.