KEEP­ING SCORE: THE STA­TUS QUO EVOLVES

Com­posers haven’t tra­di­tion­ally been an in­clu­sive bunch. Are the times chang­ing?

Variety - - Focus - By JON BURLINGAME

Di­ver­sity, both so­cial and cul­tural, has be­come in­her­ent in all as­pects of show busi­ness, and that in­cludes film mu­sic. The var­i­ous mean­ings of that term will be a topic for dis­cus­sion at Va­ri­ety’s in­au­gu­ral Mu­sic for Screens Sum­mit fea­tur­ing a com­poser panel com­pris­ing Marco Bel­trami (“A Quiet Place”), Ter­ence Blan­chard (“Blackkklans­man”), Ramin Djawadi (“Game of Thrones”), Lud­wig Go­rans­son (“Black Pan­ther”), Tom Holken­borg (“Mor­tal En­gines”) and Pi­nar To­prak (“Cap­tain Mar­vel”).

The com­pos­ing world hasn’t tra­di­tion­ally been in­clu­sive, but times are chang­ing. The Turk­ish-born To­prak be­comes the first woman to score a high-pro­file Mar­vel movie, and it hap­pens to be about a fe­male su­per­hero.

“I don’t see gen­der in things,” says To­prak, who’s hard at work on “Cap­tain Mar­vel,” due out March 8. “It’s just a great thing for a Turk­ish com­poser, with my back­ground, get­ting to do what I love on such a big scale, that’s go­ing to reach such a wide au­di­ence. That’s re­ally the ex­cite­ment for me.”

To­prak, who has also writ­ten the mu­sic for the mega-hit game “Fort­nite,” will start the sec­ond sea­son of TV’S “Kryp­ton” when she fin­ishes “Mar­vel” early next year.

For a com­poser, di­ver­sity also ap­plies to the vast ar­ray of styles, ap­proaches and tools that can be used in the pro­fes­sion these days. Dutch com­poser Tom Holken­borg, aka Junkie XL, has just fin­ished work­ing on two sci-fi ex­trav­a­gan­zas: “Mor­tal En­gines” from pro­ducer Peter Jack­son and “Alita: Bat­tle An­gel” from pro­ducer James Cameron.

Holken­borg has of­ten used both tra­di­tional orches­tra and elec­tron­ics, cre­at­ing hy­brid scores as on “Mad Max: Fury Road.” “What’s im­por­tant is that there are hu­man emo­tions at stake,” he says. “If you cre­ate a world that’s vi­o­lent and fu­tur­is­tic, you some­times for­get where these emo­tions come from.

“Film mu­sic in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s used to be a re­ally se­ri­ous craft,” he says. “If we’re not care­ful, that craft will dis­ap­pear and we’ll make mu­sic only with com­put­ers. I think there’s a way to em­brace the craft and at the same time in­ject it with all these new pos­si­bil­i­ties and move for­ward.”

There is di­ver­sity in the wide-rang­ing back­grounds of many of to­day’s top film com­posers. Swedish-born Go­rans­son not only com­posed this year’s hit “Black Pan­ther,” he’s also scored “Venom” and is back in the stu­dio work­ing on the next Child­ish Gam­bino al­bum with his friend Don­ald Glover.

“I like to mix old school with new school,” Go­rans­son says. His big­gest chal­lenge lately was scor­ing a seven-minute train­ing mon­tage in “Creed II.” “You used to put a song over these mon­tages,” he says, cit­ing the clas­sic “Rocky” se­quence fea­tur­ing “Gonna Fly Now.” “It’s hard to score movies that way to­day. Peo­ple don’t have the pa­tience. Sto­ry­telling is dif­fer­ent in the edit­ing. … I needed to keep it cohe-

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