Faith in Abstract Ideas: Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer on the Interstellar score

Interstellar is a culmination project for Christopher Nolan. It’s both the biggest, grandest blockbuster that films like Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy have been promises of…and the most personal, zoomed-in story Nolan has tackled thus far. It’s as much about mind-bending scientific theories and the entire universe as it is about the love between a father and his daughter.

It was also the culmination of Nolan’s fruitful, rule-breaking collaboration with Hans Zimmer, who has increasingly been invited to begin developing the musical layer of Nolan’s films during their earliest stage. They are collaborators in the truest sense of the word, and are blazing a path of creative symbiosis that defies the often stifling norm of temp tracks and eleventh-hour music shellacking.

Driving Miss Daisy: A 25th Anniversary Conversation with Bruce Beresford

Five years before writing his Oscar-nominated music for The Lion King, Hans Zimmer was the hot new kid on the Hollywood block. His synthy, contemporary score for Rain Man turned industry heads and occasioned his first Oscar nomination. And so it was that when Bruce Beresford directed Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, the powers-that-be at Warner Bros. decided Beresford’s regular collaborator, Georges Delerue, wasn’t nearly as sexy a choice as the young German making big digital waves.

But let’s back up a bit.

Disarming Swatches: Trent Reznor on Gone Girl

I wrote a tiny article for Variety on the Gone Girl score, for which I had the pleasure of interviewing Trent Reznor for a fair amount of time. Reznor is a polarizing and even despised figure in the realm of film score geekdom, but it’s been fascinating to see how his music for the screen has been embraced and lauded by critics and mainstream audience members—most of whom pay little to no attention to film music. That visibility and acclaim is certainly aided by his rockstar status, but I think it’s also a testament to how prominently David Fincher presents and mixes Reznor’s music (which he co-writes with Atticus Ross). Say what you will about the music’s efficacy or intricacy, but Fincher clearly gives his composers the spotlight far more than most directors, which I find extremely commendable. If nothing else, Reznor is shaking up the film world and making people talk about the music. And to that I say: bring it on.

The Jungle Book: A 20th Anniversary Conversation with Bobbie Poledouris

jungle book poster1994’s The Jungle Book was the first time Disney turned one of its classic animated films into a live-action feature. Starring Jason Scott Lee as adult Mowgli, Lena Headey as his love interest, and Cary Elwes as the British baddie, the film was a surprisingly dramatic retelling of the Rudyard Kipling story, and featured exotic sets and locations, an effective blend of mature emotion and play, and an impressive supporting cast that included John Cleese and Sam Neill. The film was directed by Stephen Sommers, then only 32, who’d just made another delightful literary adaptation—The Adventures of Huck Finn (featuring my favorite Bill Conti score)—and would go on to make The Mummy films.

Christopher Guest on Spinal Tap at 30

I got to interview the great Christopher Guest a few weeks ago for a Variety piece on a 30th anniversary screening of This is Spinal Tap at the New York Film Festival. I used about 5% of the interview in that article—so here’s the other 95. Guest definitely wasn’t the warmest interview, but his reflections on one of the funniest movies ever made are pretty entertaining. Enjoy.