“Midnight Sky” composer Alexandre Desplat spoke with Jon Burlingame in the Variety Streaming Room about how he created a score without ever meeting with director George Clooney in person.
“We had to do it by Skype and FaceTime and Zoom,” Desplat said, who is based in Paris. “We came out to the end at quite a good combination, despite the fact that we could never be in the same room.”
Clooney and Desplat have worked on numerous movies together, including “Syriana” and “Argo.” He said Clooney was always quick to respond with feedback, noting that Clooney’s love of music, cinema and good wine made him a great communicator.
“He’s a gentleman, so it’s very, very easy to work,” Desplat said. “Even if you work hard, it’s a great, great pleasure to work with him.”
The composer didn’t even travel to record the score with the London Symphony Orchestra. Instead, he partnered with Abbey Road and, through a team effort and Zoom, could see Clooney in the U.S. and the symphony in London while producing the score from Paris.
“Midnight Sky” was a difficult film to direct, Desplat said, because of the intense, cold weather conditions of Iceland and that “it’s incredibly virtuoso”. In the score, he reflected the film’s action cues with electronics, and he padded intimate moments with strings.
Desplat also pinpointed Clooney’s talent for expanding the time of a single moment. Such scenes platform the score, which required Desplat’s music to be concrete and intentional.
“You’re exposed all the time. Everything, every note is heard,” he said. “It’s almost a ballet because it’s music that you hear for an hour and a half.”