30 May 2007

Open Season - Entretien avec Ramin Djawadi par Christine Blanc

Depuis la nuit des temps, l'homme a toujours régné sur la forêt, mais cette fois, les choses pourraient bien changer...Dans la petite ville de Timberline, Boog, un ours apprivoisé et heureux de l'être, va voir sa paisible existence bouleversée par sa rencontre avec Elliot, un cerf sauvage aussi maigrichon que bavard.Elliot arrive à convaincre Boog de quitter sa vie de rêve auprès de Beth, la ranger qui l'a élevé depuis qu'il est ourson, pour aller "vivre en liberté dans la nature"... Mais Boog ignore tout de la vie sauvage, et les choses vont vite déraper. Avec l'ouverture de la chasse et les chasseurs à leurs trousses, Elliot doit absolument aider Boog à réveiller ses instincts pour qu'avec l'aide des autres animaux de la forêt, ils aient une chance de contre-attaquer tous ensemble...

How did you come on the Open Season project?
Amazing singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg had been working on songs for the movie for quite some time. When it came to scoring the movie, I was offered to join the team. It was a great collaboration. Paul had already written a lot of beautiful themes that were very useful for the score.
May you describe your score for Open Season?
It probably has the most variety of solo instruments that I have done so far. The overdub process alone of recording mandolins, fiddle, pipes, etc. took more than a solid three weeks. It was a blast as there seemed to be no boundaries in terms what instruments would work. We kept having more and more ideas.

Director Roger Allers directed the Lion King. How was it to work with such an artist. Did his experience and relation to animation nourrish your own approach to the film?
It was wonderful to get his view of the movie and his input on the music. This also is a good example from the earlier question regarding my relationship with Hans. As Roger and Hans had already worked together, I talked with Hans before I even met Roger. During the first music meeting Hans came in and it was nice to see the two chat about the Lion King. It was a really nice experience to work with Roger.

How much time did you have to compose your score?
At first I only had about a month and a half, which would have been really tight. Fortunatley, the schedule extended a little bit and I had a couple more weeks. It still ended up being a very tight schedule as I had to do all the overdubs before we flew to London for the orchestra scoring.

How did you work, and with what request from the crew?
There were some cues that Paul had already that worked really well. I would take those and orchestrated them. Most of them we’d sit down together and he would play guitar and I would play piano on the computer and map out cues. Then there were also some that I just did by myself. It was a fun collaboration as Paul had such a different approach about film scoring.
The idea about the score was to create a great mixture between orchestra and other instruments. The fact that I had a strong band background made the collaboration with Paul very comfortable.

What orchestra and what size did you choose? Did you use some electronic sounds in your score or was it all live?
We had a full size orchestra of about 70 people and recorded the score in London at Air Studios. There is some choir in the score that stayed electronic. 99% is all live.

How did you use electronics on it ?
We used electronics to create demos. 99% of that was replaced by live instruments. I have done a lot of projects where I use a lot of electronics. We wanted this score to be as live as possible.

Did you choose special instruments for the score?
We used Kazoos and recorded them ourselves. It was quite funny. Paul was able to reach some low octaves that were amazing. We also have some kids slide whistle in places and a thumbpiano for the porcupine.

Do you work differently for animation than for live action ?
Not really. I treat the comedy or serious action quite the same.

Are you at ease with Mickey Mousing?
It’s a great style of writing, but I try not to write my scores that way. I try to avoid it as much as possible and experiment with other possiblities. I think there is plenty of other ways to underscore a scene and hitting all the important sync points without doing Mickey Mousing. Sometimes you are still asked to give it that feel though.

Can you tell me about your themes for the films?
We had themes for characters and actions and I tried to use whenever appropriate.

Boog’s theme was played mostly on the upright bass and

Elliot’s was mostly on the banjo. Then there was also a home theme which was derived out of one of Paul’s songs. Shaw had his rock theme, because he kept playing air guitar on his rifle. Then we also had plenty of little themes and motifs here and there for other animals that we would see along the journey. Paul had created a great theme for the

beavers that he played on the saxophone.

The squirls had pipes as they were scottish.

The ducks theme was played on kazoos. We had so much fun picking all these different solo instruments. The final battle is a great example of all of these elements coming together.

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