Busy, Ballsy Composer Alexandre Desplat Thwacks Quentin Tarantino
There's "in demand" -- like admitted workaholics Willem Dafoe or Tilda Swinton -- and then there's "in demand." Take Alexandre Desplat, for example, the twice-Oscar nominated composer who has worked on seven films in 2009 alone, not counting his contributions to date to Terrence Malick's delayed The Tree of Life. It's an eclectic resume as well, grouping the brilliant score to Cheri with two love themes to New Moon and a pair of French films we won't even see until 2010 at the earliest. And while Variety has a nice, friendly introduction to Desplat in today's composer roundelay, it's the recent smackdown for the film he didn't score -- and its director, Quentin Tarantino -- that might leave the biggest impression.
During a master class last weekend at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Desplat was asked about Tarantino's disinclination to score his films with virtually anything but preexisting work, from the pop standards of Reservoir Dogs to the spaghetti-Western benchmarks of Ennio Morricone underlying Basterds. (I presume Desplat probably would allow for, if not necessarily approve of, RZA's original compositions for Kill Bill?) In a moment of surprising artist-to-artist bitchslappery, the composer confessed disapproval for the technique, citing both a lack of inspiration and more than a bit of selfishness on Tarantino's part:
"The director's free to do what he wants to do. So if Tarantino likes this or that, that's fine. I know Tarantino hates movie soundtracks, except he's using music from movie soundtracks all the time -- from Morricone to Bernard Herrmann to you name it. It's just so provocative, I guess, a thing. Maybe he doesn't have the inspiration -- let's call it that -- to call a composer and share the authorship with a composer. That's something that many -- that some directors have difficulty to do. They think they are the only author, and they don't want to share that with a composer. They think the composer is going to steal something from them, which is false."
And just for posterity, here's some video of Desplat's comments. It could definitely use some fight-y, feud-y tunes to complement it; feel free to share your authorship (or not) as you please.
· Composer Alexandre Desplat on a roll [Variety]
· Alexandre Desplat on working with Terrence Malick, more [Movie City Indie]