UPDATE: According to a tweet from ScoringSessions.com, John Williams began recording music for Star Wars: Episode VIII at Sony on Tuesday, December 13, while “the bulk of scoring will be in the spring.” – JWFan discussion thread
According to an article in Variety, covering Williams work for The BFG and James Newton Howard’s Fantastic Beasts, Williams will begin recording the score for Star Wars: Episode VIII this month “and expects to record off and on through March or April 2017.” Here’s the Williams part of the interview:
“I loved doing it,” says Williams of “BFG,” “because it was a change from a lot of the things we’ve done. It was done with such feeling and such humanity that it represented a charming palette for me.”
For Williams, the orphan girl Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and her adventure with a Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) “was really an opportunity to compose and orchestrate a little children’s fantasy for orchestra.” He likened the experience to working on “Home Alone” 26 years ago, especially “the lightheartedness and fun of it. Even when scenes are threatening or ominous, we know that it’s not serious.”
Williams composed more than 90 minutes of music for an 85-piece L.A. orchestra, including especially virtuosic parts for the flute section. “We tried to animate these little dreams that flit about the screen with flutes and harps and wispy harmonies,” the composer adds.
He praised the L.A. musicians as “world class” and was so inspired that he took the same ensemble over to UCLA’s Royce Hall a few months later and recorded an entire album of Spielberg movie themes, which Sony Classical will release next year.
“BFG” was based on a 1982 children’s novel by British writer Roald Dahl, whom Williams often encountered at the home of his friend and collaborator, director Robert Altman, in the late 1960s. “He seemed to be a tweedy, literary type,” Williams recalled, noting that he “had interest in music” and that they met not long before “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” the 1971 musical version of his “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Williams concedes that he had hoped for greater commercial success for “The BFG,” which was deemed a box-office disappointment after its July 1 release. His next film, however, won’t be: He begins recording “Star Wars Episode VIII” in December and expects to record off and on through March or April 2017.