Composer Joseph Trapanese Brings Emotion to ‘Insurgent’s’ Dystopian World

Score for 'Insurgent' Emphasizes Emotion in
Courtesy of Joseph Trapanese

For the techno-future of “Insurgent,” composer Joseph Trapanese discovered he needed to emphasize the warmth of human emotion over the film’s dazzling technology.

Trapanese — who, as orchestrator, helped make Daft Punk sound good on “Tron: Legacy” and M83 on “Oblivion” — was hired by director Robert Schwentke to score the “Divergent” sequel. He had already read the books by Veronica Roth. “(Roth) has created a really special world,” Trapanese says, “and I’ve been hoping to help create a sonic world for it for some time.”

He fused synthetic elements with a traditional orchestra (recorded in London) for the continuing story of Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) in post-apocalyptic Chicago. With a new director at the helm, he was free to go in a different musical direction than the song-driven “Divergent.”

Trapanese infused the soundtrack with bizarre field recordings and alien textures, but says the heart of the score occurs whenever Tris enters the futuristic simulations.

“We found that going super-electronic in those moments was undermining the experience,” he says. “We needed the orchestra to provide the emotional depth in these sequences.”

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