×

Daft Punk immersed in ‘Tron’ score

Music grew from a supporting player to a starring role

Originally intended as seasoning sprinkled modestly throughout “Tron: Legacy,” Daft Punk’s adventurous score quickly grew from a supporting player to a starring role, with the finished film featuring wall-to-wall music.

First-time director Joseph Kosinski’s “vision initially was to have (the music) be more of a minimal thing, have greater spaces,” music supervisor Jason Bentley recalls. “The way it turned out, it worked better if there was more of a prominence of music. That revealed itself in the process.”

With its electronic, futuristic synthetic sound, Daft Punk — the French duo composed of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter — seemed the perfect fit for the sequel to the 1982 cult classic, “Tron.”

“They’ve been trading on the aesthetic of ‘Tron’ for some time,” Bentley says of the space-age, helmet-wearing pair, who did not respond to interview requests, maintaining their air of mystery.

The twosome were Kosinski’s first choice for the movie, but it took a fair amount of courting to convince them. “They’re just really careful and meticulous about their process,” Bentley says. “They really took their time. But it was worth it. It was a huge commitment for them. There was no touring and no recording” during the two-year process.

Once Daft Punk signed on, Bentley took them around to meet with top composers, including Hans Zimmer and John Powell, to see if they wanted to combine efforts, especially since other than a small art house film scored by Bangalter, they had never composed for a film before, much less orchestrated one.

“It would have been legitimate if they’d said they wanted to partner with Hans or John — they would have probably put Disney at ease — but Daft Punk said after all these meetings, ‘We want to do what these guys do. We want to build a studio and not miss a minute of this process.’ They were like sponges,” Bentley says.

The music supervisor then surrounded them with all the resources they needed, including music editors, tech support, an orchestrator and a conductor. “They all served the vision and ideas of Daft Punk,” Bentley says.

The studio’s confidence in the musicians grew as Disney witnessed the Internet excitement over Daft Punk’s involvement. “It was interesting to see Disney coming (around) to see who they had on their hands,” Bentley says. “Initially they were quite nervous. A simple Google (search) that came back with as many things about Daft Punk (scoring) as about a sequel was an indication it was a pretty good decision.”

Instead of scoring to picture per usual, Daft Punk began submitting demos to Kosinski as he was shooting. He and the story editor would take the music and fit it to specific scenes.

“Daft Punk didn’t have the picture until quite a bit later,” Bentley says. “Once they did, they were able to finish things.” Kosinski had music so early he never used a temp score. A side benefit: He played Daft Punk’s cues on set to help get the actors into character.

Daft Punk’s music complements the sound effects, weaving out of scenes like the all-important flying memory discs and roaring lightcycles. “(Kosinski) set up meetings before the film was shot and was making those introductions so the composers and sound designers at Skywalker were communicating,” says Bentley. “It goes to the point of having ‘Tron: Legacy’ be an immersive filmgoing experience.”

Get more from Eye on the Oscars: Music:
Music branch can’t please all the people | Song category hangs by thread | Daft Punk immersed in ‘Tron’ | Songs in contention
Contenders:
Michael Brook | Carter Burwell | Danny Elfman | Grizzly Bear | Jan Kaczmarek | Rachel Portman | Anton Sanko

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19:

    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content