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Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami on navigating his way through ‘World War Z’

Marco Beltrami '91MM has scored “Scream,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “The Hurt Locker,” the upcoming remake of “Carrie,” and Tommy Lee Jones’ new film “The Homesman”
November 14, 2013

HitFix Music
By Melinda Newman

POZNAN, POLAND—Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami recently found himself in a rather unenviable position, caught between “World War Z’s” producer/star Brad Pitt, director Marc Forster and Paramount Studios as the different factions clashed over the direction and tone of the zombie action pic.

He kept his head down and tried to serve all his masters, including writing two score for the same picture. Luckily, things normally go a little smoother for the Yale School of Music graduate, who broke into the business by scoring a number of horror movies, including “Scream,” “Scream 2,” Halloween H20,” “Resident Evil,” but has expanded to all genres. He has scored TV series, including “The Practice,” as well as “3:10 to Yuma,” “The Hurt Locker,” “A Good Day To Die Hard,” “Trouble With the Curve,” “The Wolverine,” and the upcoming remake  of “Carrie” and Tommy Lee Jones’ new film, “The Homesman.”

After teaching a master class at the Transatlantyk Festival here, Beltrami sat down with Hitfix to discuss navigating the “WWZ” waters and his upcoming projects.

You got hired for “Scream” in 1996, even though, by your own admission, you are not a horror movie fan. When you look at your resume there are a lot of horror movies on there. Have you become a fan?

No.

But you continue to work in the genre, including scoring the forthcoming remake of “Carrie.” 

See, a lot of the movies that I’ve done, I don’t consider them to be real horror movies. They’re not in the ‘Saw’ or torture-porn movie [style]. The “Scream” movies are over the top and there’s a lightness to them. “Carrie,” to me, is a weird coming of age story for a girl. But it’s like maybe it’s more of a drama about her that has turns bad, but I don’t see it as that horrific.

[…]

You worked with Tommy Lee Jones on the “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” score and you’re working on his new directorial project now too. What can you say about that? 

It’s called “The Homesman.” It’s a western period piece [with Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep and Jones]. They came to homestead the land in Oklahoma and so forth. It turns out it wasn’t uncommon for women to go crazy from not seeing people for days at a time or death and illness of the kids. Famine. Just the wind.

People talk about how intense Tommy Lee Jones is to work with? What’s your working relationship like with him? 

He likes what I come up with. I think I sort of understand him when he’s talking. I very much enjoy working with him, He thinks totally outside of the box.

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