Recently we sat down with the composer Rupert Gregson-Williams (Open Season: Scared Silly, The Legend Of Tarzan) to discuss working on his latest musical creation with Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge.
V.S.R. - 1. Describe your latest soundtrack, Hacksaw Ridge on Varese.
R.G-W. - The soundtrack is really in two parts. A lovely romance blossoms as Desmond discovers both the love of his life and his faith. The second half of the movie is brutal. The score reflects some of this, and also despond’s spiritual strength.
V.S.R. - 2. Did the director give you any interesting instructions or feedback to help you create the tonal palate?
R.G-W. - Mel and I spent a day just discussing Desmond - his strength of belief, the love of his life, his bravery and commitment. We wanted to reflect his spirituality without being pious, and his bravery without celebrating violence.
V.S.R. - 3. Which scene did you score first and why?
R. G-W. - I scored the opening sequence first. It captures the tone of the film - the brutality of war and then the beauty of Virginia. I used themes for Desmond’s faith, and for his early childhood in the Blue Ridge mountains.
V.S.R. - 4. What kind of ensemble did you use to record the score? Did you use any interesting or unusual instrumentation or soloists who deserve a shout-out?
R.G-W. - We recorded a large orchestra and choir at Abbey Road in London. Peter Gregson and Caroline Dale played duetting cellos alongside Sarah Burnett. Two parts in the movie have high counter tenor parts which I just about managed myself…
V.S.R. - 5. What other soundtracks of yours were released on Varese? What does it mean to you to have you music released by this label?
R.G-W. - Working with Bob at Varese is always a joy. They have released The Prisoner and Open season: Scared Silly of mine over there.