×

Music for ‘Impossible’ catastrophic yet sensitive

Eye on the Oscars: Music

Creating music for a film about the tsunami that resulted in the deaths of some 230,000 people in 2004 can’t be easy. But that event and its aftermath were precisely what Spanish composer Fernando Velazquez had to tackle when scoring Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible.”

“It’s funny how tiny the line is between a melody that is telling something vital and music for a commercial, and we knew crossing this line was a danger,” Velazquez says. “We tried to be very careful, to be absolutely respectful for what we are telling.”

Velazquez, who had previously scored Bayona’s “The Orphanage” (2007), worked closely with the director on finding the right sound. “I love complicated music — I love Boulez — but that just didn’t address what was needed for this movie,” the composer said. “We needed to deconstruct.”

The goal was to find “something tender and simple but true,” and it came by way of the touching theme that pervades the film, variously, on cello, piano and full orchestra. “It’s in a way my reference,” Velazquez says. “People say it’s because I am a cello player, which I am. But it’s because it’s right. The theme is gentle, noble, tender. And the cello itself explains it better than my words.”

Velazquez’s biggest challenge, not surprisingly, was how to depict the tsunami itself. “It’s only the second wave that has music,” the composer explains, referring to the overwhelming sound of massed double basses. “We produced and recorded the music for the first wave. But we knew there was a chance we would drop it. You need to find a balance. It’s hard to make a decision about how much energy you put in certain sequences. That’s Juan Antonio’s intelligence. He’s obsessive in a very nice way, with absolutely everything.”

Eye on the Oscars: Music
Soundtracks fuel narrative drive | Elfman’s full deck | Phantasmagoric ‘Pi’ filling | Catastrophic yet sensitive | A ‘Green’ approach to acoustics | Adele’s brush with Bond | Middle-Earth maestro | A bridesmaid’s London calling | Toon tunesmith | Song: In their own words

More Film

  • The True Adventures of Wolfboy

    Film Review: 'The True Adventures of Wolfboy'

    Most teenage boys would kill for a few whiskers, but not Paul. At 13, he already has a full face of hair, and his peers treat him like a freak for it. So, too, does Martin Krejčí’s “The True Adventures of Wolfboy,” although the movie argues that perhaps being a freak isn’t such a bad [...]

  • 'Top Gun: Maverick' Trailer: Tom Cruise

    Tom Cruise Drops First Trailer for 'Top Gun: Maverick' at Comic-Con (Watch)

    Tom Cruise made a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday to hype the forthcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” and receive mass adoration from Hall H. “I felt it was my responsibility to deliver for you,” Cruise told the crowd, tugging local heartstrings by reminiscing on the original “Top Gun” shoot in Downtown San Diego. [...]

  • Tribeca Film Institute

    Tribeca Film Institute, Pond5 Announce Latest Indie Film Grantees (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Pond5 have once again teamed up to offer microgrants to indie filmmakers and artists. The grants, which go as high as $7,500, are intended to help storytellers during “in-between” phases of their projects, such as research, festival travel or community screenings. They’re the kind of unexpected costs that can lead [...]

  • On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los

    On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los Angeles in Second Quarter

    Held down by a lack of soundstage space, total on-location filming in greater Los Angeles declined 3.9% in the second quarter to 8,632 shoot days, permitting agency FilmLA reported Thursday. “Although our latest report reveals a decline in filming on location, local production facilities tell us that they are operating at capacity,” said FilmLA president [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    U.S. Box Office, Movie Admissions, Ticket Price Fall in Second Quarter

    U.S. movie admissions slid 2.5% in the second quarter of 2019 to 347.8 million, with box office receipts declining 3.8% to $3.22 billion on the heels of a record-setting year, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) reported Thursday. The overall ticket price for the quarter slipped 1.3%, or 12 cents, to $9.26, compared to [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Will Definitely Be R-Rated, Tim Miller Reveals at Comic-Con

    “Terminator: Dark Fate” is not just a reboot of a beloved franchise, it’s a return to hardcore form that will receive an R rating from the MPAA. Announced at San Diego Comic Con’s opening Hall H panel on Thursday, the move is a departure from the PG-13 status of recent reboot attempts like “Terminator: Genisys” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content