“He’s a filmmaker who has not made a film,” says director Saar Klein of composer Marc Streitenfeld. “He discusses things on a story level. He has an overall macro understanding of the film. And incredible taste.”
The two met while Klein was editing “The Thin Red Line” and Streitenfeld was assisting composer Hans Zimmer. By the time Klein was ready to make his own, “After the Fall,” Streitenfeld had begun composing on his own and Klein enlisted him while the film was still in the writing and prep stages.
“I think he really got to the soul of this man,” Klein says, referring to the lead character (Wes Bentley, as an unemployed family man who turns to crime). “There’s a lot going on inside this man who’s falling apart. The music almost illustrates the sadness, the tragedy of this man.”
Mike Knobloch, the president of music at Universal who was at Fox when Ridley Scott made the unexpected choice of Streitenfeld to score “A Good Year,” remembers him as “a super-talented music editor,” and then “as music supervisor, with that extra deep insight and perspective to know not just how to score the movie, but the vision in the director’s head. Marc was unflinchingly great. He clearly is a grounded and confident guy, two key traits for any composer.”
“The Grey” director Joe Carnahan remembers that, while Streitenfeld was composing the music for his man-vs.-wolves survival saga, he always looked exhausted. Later, Carnahan concluded, “there was some part of him that wanted to mirror the physical and mental exhaustion of these guys,” that might yield something creative in his own score.
“Being at Abbey Road with Marc to watch that score being played live was one of the highlights of my professional career,” Carnahan adds.
Hearing cellist Caroline Dale “play that last piece where Liam (Neeson) is in the wolf den, I had a real visceral reaction to that, on the verge of tears. Marc’s work was so sublime.”
Andrew Dominik, director of the undersung “Killing Them Softly,” in which Brad Pitt plays a mob enforcer, says, “sound is everything. Music for that film was tough, because you weren’t supposed to hear it. It was supposed to be part of the atmosphere. That’s very hard to do, but Marc did an amazing job.”
Dominik calls “Killing Them Softly” “a pretty unglamorous job, musically speaking. The idea, originally, was only to use source music but I found I needed more. It started out as drones and rumbles and then gradually evolved into music.”
Marc Forster, who directed the pilot of the new Amazon series “Hand of God,” says he chose Streitenfeld because “he has all the right elements and sensibilities for a project of this nature.” The score incorporates both strings and layered vocal textures.
The work process, he says, was “very simple and hassle-free. The score is subtle and doesn’t draw attention to itself. His work is always original and helps contribute to the unique personality of the show.”