Billion-Dollar Composer: Christophe Beck

Daily Variety chose 10 of Christophe Beck’s most popular, notable or challenging films and asked him to reflect on the experience:

“Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003)
“A movie made by Audrey Wells, one of my favorite filmmakers. I loved being able to combine Italian flavors, Nino Rota-esque, in a more minimalist, colorful, modern context.”

“Cheaper By the Dozen” (2003)
“Possibly the first film where I had to rewrite a cue over and over again. It was the critical, big cue at the end. I think it was version 12 or 14 by the time we finished. A real feeling of accomplishment and triumph.”

“Elektra” (2005)
“One of the first movies where I was able to conceive and execute a high concept that I’m still very proud of. I did a day of sessions with the orchestra, then put them into my software and manipulated that. If you listen to that score, you can actually hear the original recording sliced and diced and combined with a real orchestra on top of it.”

“The Pink Panther” (2006)
“I remember how much fun it was working with Henry Mancini’s theme. Mancini’s ‘Pink Panther’ scores were more episodic; he didn’t work the theme in to the extent that I did. It was really great being able to run with that theme and do a bunch of variations on it.”

We Are Marshall” (2006)
“Most of the time, these days, there aren’t too many surprises when I get to the scoring stage. Maybe it’s the way the mock-ups were, but when I heard that first big sports-action cue, it was like, ‘Whoa! I never imagined it would sound quite as glorious as this.'”

“The Hangover” (2009)
“I wanted the score to sound like a record, in terms of production — like instrumental versions of the songs that were in the soundtrack. So we recorded the drums and guitar a little differently. There’s very little score in ‘The Hangover.’ If you tried to do too much, you would wear down the ear with that kind of (rock) sound.”

“Percy Jackson & The Olympians” (2010)
The Lightning Thief” (2010): “Amazing fun, being able to write a grand, epic orchestral adventure score, the likes of which I had been listening to and enjoying since I was a kid.”

“Waiting for Superman” (2010)
“My first experience working on a documentary, and my first sometimes feeling like I needed to take a shower after writing a cue — because of the difference between manipulating emotions over something that’s real, and doing it in a purely fictional context.”

“Red” (2010)
“The craziest production situation I’ve ever been in. I had four weeks to turn around 80 minutes of score that was not simple. Every cue had orchestra, drums, guitars, bass, synth. … I like being in a scenario where you’re part of a team and you’re trying to do something crazy.”

“Crazy Stupid Love” (2011)
“I worked with filmmakers who challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone. I normally will mock up my ideas and invite filmmakers to come over and play it for them. By the second meeting, the directors were saying, ‘Where are the musicians?’ So we brought in seven or eight guys, once a week for four weeks, and they really appreciated it.”

BILLION-DOLLAR COMPOSER: CHRISTOPHE BECK
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