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Stefancos

Podcast: Rian Johnson On How John Williams Works

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I wonder what Rian told JW in terms of just purely aesthetic approach because TLJ score doesn't sound at all like it's trying to recapture the sound of ANH and the OT the way TFA does. The action music and really fast "cutting" from one phrase to another recalls his approach in the prequels more than anything. 

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Wonder if the dry approach for TFA was more of a directive from JJ and JW acquiesced, but reverted to his more modern sound for TLJ.

 

Or maybe they just didn't intend to go so far away from the prequel mix in TFA and recalibrated appropriately? Would love to hear from Murphy about this.

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1 hour ago, artguy360 said:

You think TLJ's OST mix drowns out details in the music? 

 

I'm not sure yet, too early to tell. 

Everything is far more in your face though. But the score was written like that so thats fine.

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2 hours ago, crumbs said:

They hate each other's guts.

 

Insiders told me Williams yelled out expletive-laden abusive rants from the podium, regularly storming off the stage and screaming at Bill Ross, "you handle this fucking cue."

Are you joking or being serious now? I honestly can't tell on these forums sometimes.

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The same podcast has an episode interviewing the producer of the Harry Potter franchise films. He talks about working with John Williams on the 3 films and specifically how Alfonso Cuaron had the courage to challenge JW to write music for HP3 that was different from the kind of music JW had written in for the first 2 and how much JW enjoyed the process and worked without ego, which is something we've heard about him before. Interesting insight into one of JW's best and most unique scores. I wonder if Rian Johnson "challenged JW in any way." In the pre-film score featurette JW described Johnson as very hands on. 

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3 minutes ago, crumbs said:

 

This really surprised me! I fully expected Rian to "let him do his thing."

This is just me assuming shit, but I think Rian was more responsible for the quotes of old themes and material than JW and temped the movie with a lot of JW Star Wars music. The Canto Bight music for example sounds like it was temped with Cantina Band and Rian asked JW to write music like that.

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Well technically Rian was going to offer the Canto Bight source to his cousin Nathan but JW supposedly insisted on doing it.

 

If he was uncomfortable basically doing Cantina Band MK2, I doubt he would've been so insistent. That source is heaps of fun anyway, very Johnny Williams.

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I'm not blaming anybody. I like this score and I think the use of old themes is largely really well done aside from the over-use of the Force Theme and Rebel Fanfare. I do think that Rian Johnson's direction both for the film and for the music determined some aspects of the final score such as the use of binary sunset to end the film, the Canto Bight source music, and generally the lack of major opportunities for new thematic material.

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1 hour ago, artguy360 said:

This is just me assuming shit, but I think Rian was more responsible for the quotes of old themes and material than JW and temped the movie with a lot of JW Star Wars music. The Canto Bight music for example sounds like it was temped with Cantina Band and Rian asked JW to write music like that.

 

Actually, the Canto Bight cue reminds much more of Tintin's opening titles than Cantina band

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5 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Yes, this feels like Williams scored a heavily temptracked film.

 

Absolutely the case. This score was heavily temp-tracked. Tempos line up almost exactly with previous cues and Rian even mentions that they temped the entire film and gave it to John. 

 

That being said, Rian has NEVER worked with a real composer before - only his relatively amature cousin. Thus his normal workflow was probably more dictated than artistically letting go and he probably had a really hard time doing that even though he has incredible appreciation for Williams and probably couldn't think of not temping a movie, even though Williams could probably work around it regardless. 

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I like her informal 'chat' style (which is something I strive for in my own interviews), but she could have been more insightful/detailed for us film score nerds. There wasn't much new information here we didn't already know. And I could be without the hundred variations of the STAR WARS theme.

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"When we were editing, we had a very talented music editor, Joe Bond, who cut a temp score out of John's previous scores and we basically temped using John Williams music. And then basically we gave that temp score to John and that was our spotting session. You know, a spotting session is usually when you sit down with the composer and talk through what you want. I didn't do that with John, just gave him our temp score and said this is generally the shape. And then John took that and sometimes he went with it, sometimes he deviated from it but he just did his thing; and the first time I heard any of the music John had written was when we were on the scoring stage."

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Yeah Johnson seemed not to really respect JW much was the vibe I got. Especially because he talks about how involved he has been with his cousin. It didn’t sound like that was even his normal process just to send a temp score. It sounded like he was ok with Williams deviating from it, but didn’t give much direction at all

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49 minutes ago, Muad'Dib said:

"When we were editing, we had a very talented music editor, Joe Bond, who cut a temp score out of John's previous scores and we basically temped using John Williams music. And then basically we gave that temp score to John and that was our spotting session. You know, a spotting session is usually when you sit down with the composer and talk through what you want. I didn't do that with John, just gave him our temp score and said this is generally the shape. And then John took that and sometimes he went with it, sometimes he deviated from it but he just did his thing; and the first time I heard any of the music John had written was when we were on the scoring stage."

 

Thanks for typing that out, that is good information!

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