When Judd Apatow decided to do a film in which music would play a larger role than in any of his earlier pictures, he didn’t have to look very far for a composer.
The job went to Lyle Workman – the guitarist, session player and former band member with Bourgeois Tagg, Todd Rundgren, Beck and Sting — who had already created music for the Apatow factory’s “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Superbad” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
“Get Him to the Greek,” a “Sarah Marshall” spinoff, turns on the comeback journey of rock star Aldous Snow, played by Russell Brand in both films. Brand re-teams with Jonah Hill, who played a different character in the earlier film but stars as Brand’s comic foil in “Greek.”
Apatow and helmer Nick Stoller, along with music editor and supervisor Jonathan Karp, insisted on musical authenticity. “They wanted to have a strong set of songs to choose from that would be performed in the film,” says Workman, “so they enlisted a slew of songwriters. We recorded about 20.” Many are in the film, others on the soundtrack CD.
The songs had to stand on their own and not be “dumbed down for the movie,” says Workman. “We raised the bar really high. Everything was recorded in a studio’s controlled environment, just like you’d do a record. The songs were complete entities unto themselves, written and recorded in advance of the filming. That’s why I was on this movie for a year. Usually I’m not on that long.”
Once recorded, the songs had to be integrated into the picture, which includes two major filmed concert performances — one outdoors at Rockefeller Center in New York, where Brand’s character performs for a “Today” show audience, and one inside the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, where he stages his big comeback.
Syncing up the recorded music with the concert footage was a team effort. “Lyle and I were both there on set, playing it back through loudspeakers,” says Karp. “I had all the tracks in my Pro Tools (digital audio) system. Along with (film editor) Bill Kerr, Judd and Nick, we figure out what the picture cut would be.”
Technically, Workman didn’t need to be at the filmed performances, but he went anyway. “I was in the studio with Russell when he recorded,” he says, “and there’s a comfort factor in having that same support on stage.”
Workman’s credit on “Greek” is “original music by,” but in essence he was the film’s composer as well. He did the entire underscore, co-wrote many of the songs, including the number “Fuck Your Shit Up,” which expresses the attitude of Sean Combs, who steals every scene in which he appears.
Workman is now in Nashville working on a record for Dutch artist Ilse DeLange. Karp has begun work on Apatow’s next project, starring Kristen Wiig.
Bookings & Signings
Innovative Artists signings: Line producer Jim Klever-Weis (“Ugly Betty”), d.p. Cort Fey (“Lost”), production designers Victoria Paul (“Lie to Me”) and Gregory Van Horn (“Private Practice”) and editor Jeffrey Werner (“The Kids are All Right”).
IA booked line producers Lewis Abel on CBS’ “The Defenders,” Peter Burrell on Fox’s “Running Wilde,” Robert Simon on ABC’s “My Generation,” Gideon Amir on Cartoon Network pilot “The Lords of Battle Axe” and line producer/UPM Jim Klever on ABC’s “Body of Proof”; and d.p.’s David Hennings on Seth Gordon’s “Horrible Bosses,” Shawn Maurer on John Schultz’s “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” Tim Suhrstedt on Amy Heckerling’s “Vamps” and Eric Hase on MTV pilot “That Girl.”
Agency also booked production designers Bill Eigenbrodt on CBS’s “The Defenders,” Corey Kaplan on ABC’s “The Whole Truth,” Dan Dorrance on Simon Crane’s “Kane & Lynch,” Stuart Blatt on NBC’s “The Event,” Cece De Stefano on NBC’s “The Cape,” David L. Snyder on Robert Meyer Burnett’s “Free Enterprise II,” Chuck Parker on ABC’s “Detroit 187” and Victoria Paul on Fox’s “Lie to Me.”
Montana Artists signed producer Rodney Liber (“The Back-up Plan”). Agency booked costume designers Giovanna Melton on CBS’ “Defenders” and Wendy Greiner on ABC’s “No Ordinary Family”; costume designer Sarah Beers and editor Michelle Tesoro on HBO’s “In Treatment”; and production designers Scott P. Murphy on NBC’s “Outlaw” and Mark Hofeling on ABC Family’s “Ex-Mas Carol”; Montana also booked producers John Corser (as UPM) on Lisa Azuelos’ “LOL,” Darren Demetre on Robert Meyer Burnett’s “Free Enterprise 2,” Tony Mark on Pieter Kroonenberg’s “Mine that Bird” and DJ Carson on Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz”; UPM’s Warren Carr on David Frankel’s “The Big Year” and Michele Greco on NBC’s “Law & Order: Los Angeles”; co-producer/UPM Patrick Stapleton on Marc Bennett’s “Should’ve Been Romeo”; and 1st AD’s Cara Giallanza on Julie Anne Robinson’s “One for the Money,” Rich Cowan on Bruce Beresford’s “Peace, Love And Misunderstanding,” Chip Signore on HBO’s “Cinema Verite” and Michael Neumann on Nima Nourizadeh’s “Project X.”