“He can do just about anything,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer says of composer Trevor Rabin. “That’s what you want: a composer who’s creative, who understands the musical rhythm and language of scenes, how to bring out the emotion that the director and actors were striving for.”
It was Bruckheimer who discovered Rabin’s facility with sports movies. “He can write those great anthems, those triumphant melodies that every athlete would love to hear as he’s making the last basket or the last goal or the last touchdown. It’s something that’s innate in his talent.”
Bruckheimer is not the only filmmaker to sing Rabin’s praises. Jon Turteltaub, who directed the “National Treasure” films, laughs about their initial musical encounter: “He played us a bunch of music with scenes. I so despised the instrumentation he used, I looked at him and said, ‘This sounds like European porn!’
“Instead of throwing something at me and storming out of the room, he laughed and sort of understood what I meant. I knew at that point I had a real collaborator.
“Trevor manages to take what’s there and show you that it can be better than what you thought. He’s a cheerleader for a movie; makes what you have special rather than trying to change what you have or turn it into something else.”
Tony Bill, who directed “Flyboys,” the World War I aviation film, appreciated Rabin’s help in basic storytelling: “Is this a good guy or a bad guy? Is this trouble or liberation? You want to make sure that the score doesn’t just carry the action but gives you a hint of what’s going on. He added depth.”
Producer Terry Matalas, who is about to start his second season of TV’s “12 Monkeys” with Rabin, says the composer has “enhanced the emotion and the sense of mystery throughout. Music is as important as the characters on the screen; there are times when his music has been so good it’s improved the lighting or the scripts themselves.”
Says Peter Segal, for whom Rabin scored “Get Smart” and “Grudge Match”: “Like only a few musicians who have transitioned from performer to composer, he understands what makes the moment work. He knew how to bring that out at a full arena when he was performing with Yes, and he knows how to reach a crowd of 500 at a movie theater.
“He can kick ass and get your heart pumping and he can break your heart with subtle moments.”