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Heitor Pereira’s Range Extends Beyond Animated Features

Animated films may be his most commercially successful, but Heitor Pereira has scored his share of live-action ones, too, including three surprising and diverse films still to come.

The Moon and the Sun,” awaiting a release date from Paramount, mixes fantasy with historical drama in its story of King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan), whose quest for immortality leads him to steal the life force of a mermaid.

“Heitor fundamentally impacted the movie in an unexpected, but quite brilliant, way,” says producer Bill Mechanic. “He crawled inside the movie and helped the rest of us understand a way in which the mermaid could communicate. She always was meant to have a musical basis for communication, but Heitor saw a way through other cultures where musical sounds become a language itself.”

Adds exec music producer Robert Kraft: “Melodically, he captured the big narrative elements of love, longing and connection. He was unafraid to experiment and we all benefited from his instincts.”

“The Jesuit,” with Willem Dafoe and Ron Perlman, is grittier than most of Pereira’s previous films. Variety describes it as “a road-movie actioner,” and Pereira calls it “this crazy dark drama.”

A preview of the music reveals Pereira’s evocative acoustic guitar, backed by moody, electronically generated noises to suggest both the Texas and Mexico locales and the revenge-and-murder plot.

“Sonic Sea,” an upcoming documentary on the harm being done to marine life by man-made noise pollution, showcases still another side of the Brazilian composer. He combines orchestral beauty with samples from whale songs.

“We slow down whale chanting to a point that you don’t recognize them, and then I harmonize. I stacked those chantings, and they become my harmony. So instead of being an orchestra you have this pad underneath from whale sounds.”

At other times in the film, Pereira says, “I left space for the whales to sing. I’m accompanying whales. I want to make people understand how painful it is (to the sea creatures). This thing needs to move us.”

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