×

Reimagining the Music of ‘High Fidelity’ for Hulu’s 2020 Update

Hulu’s updated version of the 2000 John Cusack-led, Stephen Frears-helmed, Nick Hornby-authored classic “High Fidelity” is the type of show that can — unironically — play the perfect song for every moment. And the team brought in to oversee that very delicate process was Manish Raval, Tom Wolfe and Alison Rosenfeld. The three veteran music supervisors who make up the core of a boutique music supervision and editing company called Aperture Music (founded by Raval and Wolfe over 20 years ago) have worked together on films as varied as the Oscar-winning “Green Book” and the rom-com “Trainwreck,” and TV shows like “Girls” (for which they were Emmy-nominated) and AMC’s “Preacher.” Because of their eclectic library of projects, it would seem that they were the perfect pick for a new show — created by Sarah Kucserka and Veronica West and starring Zoë Kravitz as the unlucky-in-love Brooklyn record shop owner Rob — which would have music spanning across three decades and nearly every genre.

“We always want to make our projects as great as possible,” says Rosenfeld, “but this one, at least for me, I felt some pressure. This was a project where people have read the book, they’ve seen the movie, they’re coming into it with ideas about what good music should be. But [also], it was a fun opportunity to explore all the different directions we could go with the music.”

Aperture got a script in early 2018, that took place on the east side of Los Angeles and when Kravitz was yet to be attached. They began to think of LA-record stores, bands, singers. But not long after, the story was rewritten to take place in Crown Heights. Once onboard, Kravitz, who is also an executive producer, was very involved in the process of building a world of songs for Rob along with Kucserka and West. There were also some consultations with Questlove, a prolific musician and one of the founding members of The Roots — though he never worked directly with the team at Aperture.

Traditionally, on a show or a movie, there would be a mix of existing songs and music composition or scoring, but early on, the decision was to keep it all song-based. The sheer abundance of music, songs and bands that Ravel, Rosenfeld and Wolfe had to balance was both exciting for a music supervisor and daunting.

“We worked on every episode three different ways, three different times,” explains Raval. “We’d get the script and prepare everything—getting the clearances—for what they would [need] if they were going to mention a band. Editorially, before the producers got involved, sometimes [the creators] would be thinking [they’d] want to go down a certain road, and we would do another round of chasing other song clearances. Then once we get in the room with the producers and everyone and finalizing it, there’s another round of clearances replacing other stuff. As they’re shooting it, things could change or we could pitch other ideas, too. The challenge was just trying to keep up with the amount of music.”

More Artisans

  • A still from Miles Davis: Birth

    Film Editor Lewis Erskine on Finding the Rhythm for Miles Davis Doc 'Birth of the Cool'

    On-the-beat editing for the documentary “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” comes courtesy of Lewis Erskine who brings rhythm to the images apace with that perfect flow of the jazz icon’s horn. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 and earned a nomination at the NAACP’s 2020 Image Awards for outstanding documentary [...]

  • Robin Thede

    Robin Thede: 'Turn Black History Month Into Black History Year' (Guest Column)

    From “The Queen Latifah Show,” “The Nightly Show,” “The Rundown with Robin Thede” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” my career has been dedicated in large part to the representation, advancement and celebration of black people year-round. And I know what you’re thinking: “Robin, you’re black (I think, right? Googles ‘Robin Thede ethnicity’ Yes, got [...]

  • Kasi LemmonsNew York Women in Film

    Kasi Lemmons: 'African American History Is American History' (Guest Column)

    My influences were literary initially. I was a big reader of books so my influences were Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and southern novelists. In terms of film, I liked Bergman a lot and Hitchcock, but there were a lot of different people that I admired. I realized recently that Lina Wertmuller was one of [...]

  • The Invisible Man

    How 'The Invisible Man's' Production and Costume Designer Avoided Horror Tropes

    While Universal’s “The Invisible Man” is based on the studio’s popular 1933 horror feature of the same name, director Leigh Whannell didn’t envision his remake as a fright fest. That provided the marching orders for his artistic team: Production designer Alex Holmes and costume designer Emily Seresin sought to avoid horror tropes, turning the Elisabeth [...]

  • call of the wild

    'The Call of the Wild' Editor David Heinz on Creating Emotions for a CGI Dog

    “The Call of the Wild” editor David Heinz has worked on “The Jungle Book” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” but this movie starring Harrison Ford and an animated dog named Buck was different. “If you think about it, the lead of the movie is fully CGI and never speaks,” he said, also [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content