I hadn’t written a song in years, and I didn’t even know if I could write a song.”
FATED FINALE: ANNIE LENNOX AND ‘A PRIVATE WAR’
Suggesting an artist to perform the title song for Matthew Heineman’s “A Private War,” the movie about British journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed in 2012 while covering the strife in Syria, was a no-brainer for CAA’S Brian Loucks. “I thought this was the kind of movie Annie would love,” the agent says of his client, Annie Lennox.
Little did he know that Lennox had actually met the famed Sunday Times journalist before her death. He also wasn’t aware that the subsequently formed Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network was under the umbrella of Lennox’s female empowerment organization, the Circle NGO. Still, it took some convincing.
“When the call came through to ask me if I would write a song, I said: ‘I’d like to try,’” the Oscar-winning Lennox says with a laugh. “I hadn’t written a song in years, and I didn’t even know if I could write a song.”
But Lennox, who previously wrote “Into the West” for 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which won her an Academy Award, and “Love Song for a Vampire” for “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” hadn’t lost her touch.
“The first line came to me and the rest quickly flowed,” she says. “I wrote it over a couple of hours and thought: ‘Wow, I must have been meant to write this. It felt so strange, like it was meant to be.’”
Lennox connected instantly with Colvin’s story: “I wanted to honor her memory.” The resulting ballad, which was co-produced by the film’s composer, Scott Salinas, is aptly titled “A Requiem for a Private War.”
“It truly is a requiem that you sing in honor and in commemoration of death so that we don’t forget — and Marie wrote those stories so that we don’t forget,” Lennox adds. And it might just carry Lennox back to the Academy Awards stage once again.
“There was some magic that happened in our collaboration together,” says Salinas, who’ll appear with Lennox in a keynote Q&A at Variety’s Music for Screens Summit. “She sang in a very vulnerable part of her register — she took her voice to the edge and allowed that to be shown, which I thought was very cool of her. She could have written this song in a way that comfortably sat in her range, but she is stretching in certain parts intentionally and leaving that rawness. It makes me feel something.”
— James Patrick Herman
Pinar Toprak might count as a female superhero of sorts herself, being the first woman to score a Marvel tentpole.