MattyO

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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I don't know if anyone else has heard this, it's an interview with Mike Newall about director/composer relationships. Most interesting is the discussion he has about "Goblet of Fire" and why Newall decided to go with Patrick Doyle over John Williams. Anyway, listen for yourself and form your own opinions, etc.

The part about GoF starts about 35 minutes in.

WARNING: May cause serious disturbances within JW Fandom.

Mike Newall Talks GoF

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I can't listen to it right now, can someone summarize what he said?

Basically Newell wanted Doyle because he felt that JW would 'infantilise' his music and fail to adapt to the changes in tone to the storyline as the series goes on.

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Well, he does go on a rather long rant, but one of the things he says is that John Williams probably would have not moved on from his "Prisoner of Askaban" style, so he then hires Patrick Doyle. But I am putting it nicely, compared to him.

EDIT: There you go, BurgaFlippinMan said it better than I can. Also, I hope David Yates does not hold a similar sentiment.

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What annoys me is that he mentions the change between the movies, but says nothing about how different the PoA score was to PS and Co. John Williams could have done it, easy. I've believed all these years that it was a scheduling issue with Williams, but to find out Newall didn't want Williams is insulting. So, he created a memorable theme that left it's mark on the series, he friggin created that entire musical world! What's more is he uses Jaws an example of JW's music not changing through consecutive movies: A) that's a lousy example as there are limited ways to score shark attack films (even though Williams' approach was revolutionary) and B) the score to Jaws 2 is varied enough to stand up on its own as a separate listening experience to the first movie. John Williams has managed to score plenty of sequels with equally memorable scores, equally complex, entertaining, perfect scores such as: The Empire Strikes Back, the 3 Indiana Jones sequels (yes, I said 3!), The Lost World, Home Alone 2, etc. Something about that interview seriously bugged me.

This perhaps explains why Williams was reluctant to return to the franchise for Order of the Phoenix, since HE was booted for the fourth film. To suggest that John Williams would not be able to adapt to the tone of the subsequent films suggests that Newall has no idea who Williams actually is or the importance his body of work has on film music.

Which is why I wanted you guys to form opinions first, before I blurted out my angry rant.

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I can't listen to it right now, can someone summarize what he said?

Basically Newell wanted Doyle because he felt that JW would 'infantilise' his music and fail to adapt to the changes in tone to the storyline as the series goes on.

Mike Newell is pretty candid in the interview about his desire to control as much of the filmmaking process as possible, noting that the music is a particular frustration because it lies so conspicuously out of his domain. Given Cuarón's apparently difficult experience working with Williams, Newell was probably wise to go with a proven collaborator.

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I can imagine the people over at PatDoyleFan are congratulating themselves on finally having one over Maestro Williams.

Oh, wait, scratch that. PatDoyleFan doesn't exist.

What was the apparent difficulty Cuaron had with Williams?

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The PatDoyleFan folks wouldn't have much to brag about anyway, it's not exactly a good score.

Williams has admitted that PoA wore him out, I think Cuaron really pushed him to depart from his established HP sound. And you get the feeling it was a bit of a contentious relationship.

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Maybe that's the problem with current (i.e. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Williams; the directors aren't pushing him too far out of his comfort zone. Of course I wouldn't expect Spielberg to, since they have too good a relationship going on to screw it up, so it's probably easier just to let Williams go with what he's comfortable with. That's not a bad thing, since autopilot Williams is still highly listenable and enjoyable, but IMHO PoA is John Williams last truly wonderful score. I'd be happy to stand corrected though.

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This perhaps explains why Williams was reluctant to return to the franchise for Order of the Phoenix, since HE was booted for the fourth film. To suggest that John Williams would not be able to adapt to the tone of the subsequent films suggests that Newall has no idea who Williams actually is or the importance his body of work has on film music.

Which is why I wanted you guys to form opinions first, before I blurted out my angry rant.

I was under the impression that Williams really had a thing about wanting to score Geisha, so even if they did boot him it was a probably a blessing since I believe he would have turned the offer down.

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Williams has admitted that PoA wore him out, I think Cuaron really pushed him to depart from his established HP sound.

And it's worth entertaining the notion that much credit is due here to Cuarón, for challenging Williams creatively as he so rarely is these days and arguably eliciting some of Williams's richest work in the last decade. I certainly prefer Cuarón's directness to George Lucas's passive-aggressiveness.

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That's what I heard as well, so you're probably right. But still, I would take Williams' continued involvement in the Potter franchise over Memoirs, even though Memoirs is a gorgeous score.

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Maybe that's the problem with current (i.e. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Williams; the directors aren't pushing him too far out of his comfort zone. Of course I wouldn't expect Spielberg to, since they have too good a relationship going on to screw it up, so it's probably easier just to let Williams go with what he's comfortable with. That's not a bad thing, since autopilot Williams is still highly listenable and enjoyable, but IMHO PoA is John Williams last truly wonderful score. I'd be happy to stand corrected though.

I personally disagree with you, but I certainly understand what you are trying to say.

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I've always thought that Williams simply wasn't interested in having to deal with a revolving door of directors in the same franchise, especially given his relationships with Spielberg, Lucas, and Columbus.

But it's a bit of a moot point anyway after Gof, Hooper is Yates' guy.

EDIT- Alan: It's definately a fair point, though I don't think PoA is a great as most do here. I prefer SS.

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Eh, this doesn't really phase me. Goblet is second only to Chamber of Secrets for worst Potter movie. It's such a bland interpretation, and the plot is horrendously patched together. Besides, JW actually did have a fairly full schedule at the time and possibly would have declined to do it anyway.

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That's what I heard as well, so you're probably right. But still, I would take Williams' continued involvement in the Potter franchise over Memoirs, even though Memoirs is a gorgeous score.

I wouldn't, since the fouth one, the Potter films have become atrocious.

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OotP was OK, though I only saw it once in the theater. It was beautifully designed.

The idea of splitting the last book into two movies is still mind-boggingly moronic to me. But I do want Williams back.

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Maybe that's the problem with current (i.e. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Williams; the directors aren't pushing him too far out of his comfort zone.

Williams has, perhaps, earned to the right to pick and choose his projects and collaborators, particularly at this stage in his wonderful career. But you do wonder if Williams, who is said to be restless in his desire to get better and better, might benefit a bit from a sort of Proverbs 27.17 notion of growing through being stretched and challenged by working with directors who are less immediately enchanted with his work than others.

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It was OK, but I found the pacing horrendous and the cutting of the entire Sirius vs Bellatrix fight (which we know exists) was unforgivable.

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Maybe that's the problem with current (i.e. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Williams; the directors aren't pushing him too far out of his comfort zone.

Williams has, perhaps, earned to the right to pick and choose his projects and collaborators, particularly at this stage in his wonderful career. But you do wonder if Williams, who is said to be restless in his desire to get better and better, might benefit a bit from a sort of Proverbs 27.17 notion of growing through being stretched and challenged by working with directors who are less immediately enchanted with his work than others.

Though I think his recent output is excellent, I am in at least partial agreeance with you. Nice analogy, there, too.

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can that guy sound anymore pretentious? GoF is the worst movie of the series .Oh well this director got the boot after one movie

Eh, the man has an ego (what director does not?), and he betrays a glaring ignorance about the career and capacities of John Williams, but he sounds fairly genial, and he broadcasts an obvious affection for the art of film scoring. I would welcome more characters like him in Hollywood.

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Yes, Alan, despite what he says about John Williams, he does show true knowledge and understanding of the film scoring process and the work of the composer. Plus, he has a musical background. I just don't understand how he can be so misguided about Williams.

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If a director said that about my music, I wouldn't want to come back to that franchise. I'd be like "Screw you guys, I'm John Williams."

I guess if you're a successful composer for a timespan of 50 years, you learn to swallow far more bitter pills. He had other projects, anyway.

And i guess Warner Bros. is more than happy to let another costly crew member go from the payroll. The difference Williams/Hooper must be worth a yearly income of a leading executive.

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Or Drax, the current Twilight Fangirl's top choice of Carter Burwell, with an accompanying Emo CD filled with songs representing Harry's angst at being The Boy Who Lived (I say representing because the songs themselves aren't anywhere near the picture).

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Or Drax, the current Twilight Fangirl's top choice of Carter Burwell, with an accompanying Emo CD filled with songs representing Harry's angst at being The Boy Who Lived (I say representing because the songs themselves aren't anywhere near the picture).

At least they're acquiring some taste with Burwell.

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Actually, a lot of them were outraged when Bella's Lullaby by Carter Burwell appeared on the song album. Isn't supposed to be performed by Robert Pattinson or something along those lines? Bah!

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His point about JW infantilizing his music over sequels is actually pretty unlearned since JW often makes huge changes in tone to fit the story from score to score within a given series. Most obviously, HP2 to HP 3. And clearly even within the prequels, the music developed into something quite different by the end. Lost World would be the prime example. All he would have had to do was communicate this desire to JW.

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For those unable to listen to the audio, here's a transcript of the Goblet of Fire conversation:

Tommy Pearson: There's a lot of music in the Harry Potter movies. Of course John Williams set the pace really of those movies. What did Patrick [Doyle] and you talk about before you did Goblet of Fire? Because both of you must have sat there and thought, "what have we let ourselves in for?"

Mike Newell: Yes, I think so. There was a huge amount of music. And of course, I mean, we had, I think it added up in the end, to something like three full weeks of an eighty, ninety-piece symphony orchestra, the LSO, and we had them. And they kept coming back and back and back, and the joke would be, "hey boys, it's Monday the 27th of July and here you are on Harry Potter 4 again." And they, he got quite chummy with them, you know.

I think it was absolutely overwhelming for both of us. And there were certain things that went down that were very clear. That he and I could be very clear about. And it would - the chief of those was "what sort of a film is this?" And I was very clear from before I even started working on the script, when I was getting the job, was that it would be a thriller. And I wanted it to be like either one of those paranoid thrillers. The Three Days of the Condor. Which apparently started life titled Seven Days of the Condor, it really did. The title changed, because they simply couldn't - it was just getting too big. And also North by Northwest. And I can't remember who did the score to North by Northwest.

TP: Why, it was Bernard Herrmann.

MN: Was it Bernard Herrmann?

TP: Of course.

MN: Right. And thank God we didn't go down that route. Because that's just too - I mean, there's such a signature on Bernard Herrmann that - we didn't go down that.

But, you see, I think the thing that would have been kind of terrifying to Pat was that he had to cover so many bases, because one of the things that those books are - and one of the things that makes them so popular - is that they are very accomplished comedies. She[J.K. Rowling]'s very very good at comedy writing and at comedy character writing. And then, there was this, the big thriller take on it all. And then there was pure melodrama. As, you know, they are huge melodramas. As well as all that kind of, you know, "first kiss" and "Harry grows up," all that kind of stuff. That was going on as well. So what he had to do thematically was colossal.

And I remember being more involved in the kind of, "look, that bit works, but that bit doesn't. Couldn't you possibly...?" And it seemed - Pat will probably have a completely different memory of it - but it seemed to me that I was nipping out through the door, through that double door into the, onto the [scoring] stage. Or Pat was coming in and then we'd say, "oh look if you could just do nyah yah ng..." And there was a lot of stuff, more than normal and more than I'd ever done with him before, of just dooing it on the hoof. It's not that he was making stuff up. It wasn't that at all. But he was saying, "okay, well look, we'll take, we'll move that up a couple of bars and we'll do this and we'll go soft there and loud there." It was very kind of, it was very hands-on from my point of view. I demanded a lot and I think that partly that was because of just the amount, the weight of it.

TP: But also the attention that was gonna be brought to it, surely. I mean, this is Harry Potter that we're talking about. It's not gonna be a disastrous film, everyone's gonna go and see it.

MN: Yes, yes. They are.

TP: But that must add huge amounts of pressure on you of course. And also on Pat.

MN: Yes.

TP: Does it strain relationships ever? That kind of pressure?

MN: No, no.

TP: Because you must feel it.

MN: No. It's not worth that. Pat's not like that.

TP: Well, he's a very confident guy anyway. [second sentence inaudible]

MN: He's very very confident. He had just lived when he might have died.

TP: Yes.

MN: And he was very aware how thin the ice was from time to time.

TP: Well that's what I'm talking about, really.

MN: Yeah, I think he was aware of that. What he had done was satisfy the colossal overarching demands of the project. And then, what I was demanding, was, "could we have a bit more of that between second 52 and second 73?" Which is of course very difficult for the guy. You can't do it unless the basis of the whole thing was there. And I was very very sure that I wanted Pat. I didn't want the thing to get stuck in aspic which I felt was what was going to happen.

John Williams's thumbprint is so strong that it tends to not move on. And the move is, we're moving on at a tremendous rate.

TP: Yes.

MN: The difference between [film] 1 and 2 and particularly between 2 and 3 and then 3 and 4 were colossal.

And John Williams, whom I don't know and spoke to only very briefly, was, would tend to infantilize. Not meaning to, of course, but he would tend to stick in what he originally - I mean, think about what, what would Jaws 4 be like? You know, the shark would still, for sure, be going "dadidadadada."

TP: Of course. Well, that's not entirely John Williams's fault of course.

MN: No, no it's not at all!

TP: I mean, if in a way it's...

MN: No, it's his talent!

TP: The brilliance of him is indeed that he creates things that everyone knows.

MN: Yes, absolutely right. That is presicely right.

TP: Yes.

MN: But part of the trick with the movies was that they wouldn't - they would move on and in a very very dramatic, dramatic ways and so I wanted number 4 to be distinct in all sorts of ways which is why I asked Pat and also Pat is a great great collaborator.

TP: Because it's such a different score from Donnie Brasco, of course it has to be. But there was absolutely no question. He was your first choice, was he?

MN: Yes. First and only.

TP: And any resistance from the powers-that-be on that sort of area?

MN: Nope. No, no no no no. They were absolutely, they were fine.

TP: Because I don't - People often - Directors of course use, on the whole, use composers that they want to use. But I think people don't quite realize sometimes the pressure that can come from studios when it comes to things like that.

MN: Oh, I mean there - Yeah. There was one thing, one thing that they absolutely, the studio said is that they've got to have the theme. Da di da dadadida... They had to have that.

Pat then gave it to them. He scrambled it and he twisted it...

TP: Yeah.

MN: ...little bugger.

I think what it comes down to was that Newell basically just wanted a steady collaborator. The amount of music that was going to be in the film was quite daunting and I don't think he felt like working with Williams, who can be so very quintessential "John Williams" in his writing. Rather than trying to push Williams hard in a different direction (another desire for the fourth film - to be different) he opted to just switch composer altogether. And to one he had worked with before.

An understandable choice.

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I think what it comes down to was that Newell basically just wanted a steady collaborator. The amount of music that was going to be in the film was quite daunting and I don't think he felt like working with Williams, who can be so very quintessential "John Williams" in his writing. Rather than trying to push Williams hard in a different direction (another desire for the fourth film - to be different) he opted to just switch composer altogether. And to one he had worked with before.

An understandable choice.

An understandable choice, but Newell's implicit critique of Williams is baseless, with his hypothetical Jaws 4 scenario bordering on nonsensical and his choice of words in infantilize being particularly unfortunate. If all it comes down to is that he wanted "a steady collaborator," that's all he needed to say.

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