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Marco Beltrami: Interview with Composers From The Musical Anatomy of a Superhero Panel At SDCC

Watch Play Read | By Kaitlyn Booth

One of the cooler things I got to do was take part in my first press room. It was for a panel called Musical Anatomy of a Superhero. I’ve been trying to find a copy of the panel which is why this is so late but I’ve been unable to do so. I got the opportunity to talk to the composers behind our favorite movies in science fiction and superhero movies and television shows. The interviews themselves don’t have the best audio for the questions so I pulled the best ones from each interview and you can learn a bit about the music behind some of your favorite media.

Marco Beltrami

Marco Beltrami is a Grammy nominated composer who has worked on many projects across many genres including Snowpiercer, The Wolverine, Scream, Mimic, Fantastic Four, and World War Z. He is often seen a genre innovator since his unconventional score for Scream. He has used many different objects to achieve this unique sound such as gnashing animal teeth for World War Z and an outdoor “wind piano” made from nearly 200 feet of wire for The Homesman.

“One of the challenges is that the movie is always in a state of flux. I still don’t know if it’s done. Sometimes later, especially when there are more CGI scenes, I’m not quite sure what is happening and writing for a scene that you aren’t quite sure of. Also, coming up with a theme that would unify all of the characters together and it takes some exploration coming up with something for planet zero. When I started there wasn’t any visual to go from so it was a challenge.” – on writing for the Fantastic Four.

“What I did was I had a couple of key elements and I adapted them in the differences scenes. Instead of coming up with different music in each car there were new arrangements of similar material. And because of that the picture also needed some continuity, like the music needed to provide some continuity for it.” – on composing for Snowpiercer

“The question of “how the theme is played” changes depending on the character. So I think it was hard to carry a movie with four distinct characters and feel close to all of them and feel like you’re involved with all f them. So I think the job of the music, more than anything, was to tie the characters together and the individual performances play that. In that realm thematic themes can play be played a host of ways and Ben [The Thing] is much more tragic than the other characters. I think Victor (Dr. Doom) is a bit of a tragedy too and he has his own theme, which is separate, and it evolves out of the Fantastic Four theme.” – on the tone of the music changing for each character.