Soundtracking with Edith Bowman

Soundtracking with Edith Bowman

United Kingdom

In a unique weekly podcast, Edith Bowman sits down with a variety of film directors, actors, producers and composers to talk about the music that inspired them and how they use music in their films, from their current release to key moments in their career. The music chosen by our guests are woven amongst the interview and used alongside clips from their films.

Episodes

Episode 18: Writer, Producer And Director James Bobin on Alice, The Muppets And Flight Of The Conchords  

You have to go a long way to find someone who doesn't like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the gang - or Alice of Wonderland fame, for that matter. With this in mind, it's a great pleasure to welcome James Bobin into the Soundtracking family. Not only has James directed two Muppet movies and steered Alice on a recent outing through the Looking Glass, he's played a very significant hand in a couple more pop-cultural institutions too. For having helped Sasha Baron Cohen create Ali G, Borat and Bruno, he then teamed up with Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie to bring the wonderful musical comedy Flight Of The Conchords to our screens. Indeed, Bret subsequently lent his expertise to both of James' Muppet movies. We'll be playing plenty of tunes from these films throughout the course of the conversation, as well as some classic Conchords. We also have the joys of hearing excerpts of Danny Elfman’s majestic score for Alice Through The Looking Glass - and a Strauss polka that was all the rage in the 1870s.

Preview: James Bobin On The Music Of The Muppets  

Edith’s guest this week is James Bobin, who seems to be making a habit of getting involved with pop-cultural institutions. Having recently directed Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp in Alice Through The Looking Glass, he also played an instrumental role in bringing us Ali G, Flight Of The Conchords and two Muppet movies. The Muppets, of course, come with a rich musical heritage that it’s at once important to reflect, protect and develop. As James explains here, it isn’t always easy to get that balance right. Profuse apologies in advance for playing – well, why don’t you listen for yourself … You can hear the conversation in full from Friday 2nd December.

Episode 17: Director David Yates Talks About The Music Of Harry Potter And Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them  

When you're invited to direct a movie adaptation involving one of the most-loved literary creations the world has ever known, you can be pretty certain you won't get a second chance if you mess it up. Thankfully, that's not a fate that befell David Yates. Not only did David take charge of the last four Harry Potter films, he was also asked to make JK Rowling's official spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which has been greeted with hugely positive reviews. With the budgets attached to the Potter franchise, it is of course possible to secure the services of the best composers in the world. David has taken full advantage of this privilege, variously employing Nicholas Hooper, Alexandre Desplat and James Newton Howard. He also collaborated with Rupert Gregson-WIlliams on The Legend Of Tarzan. You'll hear plenty of their work throughout the conversation, as well as that of John Williams - who provided scores for the first three Potters. We also find out a little bit about his earlier work, and get a blast of Mongolian throat music, which he used to great effect in his BAFTA nominated short film, Rank.

PREVIEW: Director David Yates On Echoing Themes From Harry Potter In Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them  

Ahead of our next episode, David Yates gives us a little insight into how James Newton Howard's score for Fantastic Beasts alluded to musical themes conceived by John Williams and Alexandre Desplat for the Harry Potter movies - the last four of which David directed. The full episode is out Friday 25th November, and features plenty more discussion about this remarkable triumvirate of composers, as well as reflections on David's early career in short film and television.

Episode 16: Christopher Guest On The Music Of Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind and Mascots  

Routinely cited as one of the funniest movies of all-time, This Is Spinal Tap is much imitated, oft-quoted, and as fresh now as it was when it first appeared in 1984. If you haven't seen it, you must buy it immediately. Directed by Rob Reiner, it takes the form of documentary following a shambolic heavy metal band as they tour North America. Though the band is, of course, fictional, their songs are very real, and very funny. One of the men behind both these songs and the razor-sharp script is writer, actor, director and musician Christopher Guest. As we'll discover, Christopher's musical background stood him in good stead for Tap, and also A Mighty Wind, his affectionate parody of the folk world. His latest directorial project is Mascots, in which he appears alongside Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Chris O'Dowd and Ed Begley Junior among many others. As with all his films, there's no traditional score - with the tunes the mascots perform to provided by CJ Vanston. But he is a fan of film music, and in particular the quirky orchestrations of Italian legend, Nino Rota. Expect plenty of music from Tap, The Folksmen and Mascots, as well as the odd trip-down-memory-lane clip too.

Preview: Christopher Guest on the Music in Spinal Tap  

Ahead of our next episode, writer, director, actor and musician Christopher Guest gives us a little insight into the process of making the music for Spinal Tap. But really, it’s a good excuse to play you that clip about the band’s very special amp … Don’t forget to check out the full episode when it is released on Friday 18th November.

Episode 15: Mat Whitecross On Oasis, Ian Dury,, Coldplay And The Music In His Films  

As subject matter goes, it doesn't get much more rock and roll than Joy Division, New Order, The Happy Mondays, Ian Dury, The Stone Roses, Coldplay and Oasis. But, in one way or another, all these artists have featured in the work of British director Mat Whitecross. As we'll discover, Mat got his big break from Michael Winterbottom while working as a runner on the set 24 Hour Party People, which tells the story of Tony Wilson and Factory Records. The pair went on to direct Road To Gauntanomo together, before he flew solo on the Ian Dury biopic Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll and Stone Roses-inspired comedy, Spike Island. Coldplay are among his illustrious list of music video clients, while he's also worked with composer Ilan Eshkeri and Tim Wheeler of Ash on more than one project. Indeed, Ilan and Tim have very kindly supplied us with some of their favourite compositions for Mat's film and TV work, which you'll hear throughout the show.

Preview: Director Mat Whitecross On His Song Selections For  Supersonic  

How do you go about picking the right tracks to reflect the life, times and output of one of the most influential bands of its generation? That was exactly the dilemma that confronted Mat Whitecross as he embarked on his Oasis documentary, Supersonic. Here he gives us a brief insight into how approached said dilemma. The full episode is released on Friday 11th November, and also covers his collaborations with legendary director Michael Winterbottom and composer Ilan Eshkeri and Tim Wheeler of Ash.

Episode 14: Derek Cianfrance On The Music In Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond The Pines And The Light Between Oceans  

In his relatively short career, writer and director Derek Cianfrance has produced a body of work that has not only been critically lauded, but also wildly contrasting in its sonic demands. For Blue Valentine, his celebrated breakthrough feature, he collaborated with American folk-rockers Grizzly Bear, who provided him with a dreamy hybrid of source music and score. He then worked with Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Fantomas on The Place Beyond The Pines, before securing the services of composer Alexandre Desplat for his latest film, The Light Between Oceans. Each project had very different musical requirements, which Derek outlines in fascinating detail here. He's a great raconteur, too - with splendid anecdotes about his lifelong obsession with Mike Patton and the sneaky way he got Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams to sing and dance for him in Blue Valentine. Expect plenty of Alexandre's score for The Light Between Oceans, Mike Patton's diverse back catalogue, Grizzly Bear and, of course, the dulcet tones of Mr Gosling!

Preview: Director Derek Cianfrance Enthuses About His Collaboration With Grizzly Bear On Blue Valentine  

As with many of our guests on Soundtracking, Derek Cianfrance has repeatedly pulled off that difficult trick of making movies that are at once thought-provoking, challenging and commercially successful. Perhaps that's why musicians at the top of their game are so happy to work with him - from Mike Patton of Faith No More on A Place Beyond The Pines to the great Alexandre Desplat on his latest release, The Light Between Oceans. He's even persuaded Ryan Gosling to sing for him! Here he explains why he felt American band Grizzly Bear were the right people to work with on his highly acclaimed heart-wrencher, Blue Valentine. You can hear this episode in full on Friday 4th November.

Episode 13: Nicolas Winding Refn on the Music in Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon  

Few filmmakers at work today can claim to have more visual flair than Nicolas Winding Refn. From his debut thriller Pusher to Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon, he has always served up a feast for the eyes. Invariably his themes are downright dark and sleazy - with tech-noir soundscapes and cinematography enhancing the mood. Whether using source music or score, the Danish director is most accomplished when it comes to sonic dressing. Nicolas has enjoyed a particularly fruitful relationship with composer Cliff Martinez. We'll hear plenty more about that during the course of the interview, as well as excepts of score from the movies on which they've collaborated. Nicolas also gives us a fascinating insight into how he deploys music to induce a profound emotional response from his cast, and also reveals what he considers to be the Holy Grail of score.

Preview: Nicolas Winding Refn on Playing Giorgio Moroder & Brian Eno To His Cast While Shooting Scenes  

Danish film director Nicolas Winding Refn is perhaps best known for the 2011 noir crime thriller Drive – for which he won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. His latest project is The Neon Demon - a psychological thriller set in the LA fashion world. Here he tells Edith about how he played music during takes on both movies to heighten the emotional response of his cast. Be sure to check out the full episode on Friday 26th October.

Episode 12: Director Ron Howard on the Music in His Films  

From child star to Academy Award winning director, Ron Howard has always made it his business to entertain. And entertain us he has - from A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and Frost / Nixon to his most recent offerings - the Beatles documentary Eight Days A Week and Dan Brown thriller Inferno. But whereas Edith's previous guest Andrea Arnold prefers to accompany her films with source music, Ron is a particular fan of score, and has, accordingly, collaborated with some of the finest cinematic composers of recent times, including James Horner, Thomas Newman, John Williams and Hans Zimmer. We'll hear plenty more about the director's admiration for that venerable bunch during the course of our conversation, as well as excerpts from the work they produced for his movies. Ron also reflects on his time as an actor, and has a most amusing anecdote about Michael Jackson!

Preview: Ron Howard Gives Us  A Fleeting Tour Of Hans Zimmer's Los Angeles Studio  

Ron Howard needs very little introduction. Having starred in some of the most well-know television shows the planet has ever know, he has since turned his hand to directing, with an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind among his many achievements. He has also employed some mighty talented composers to score his work, including John Williams, Thomas Newman and Hans Zimmer. Here Ron takes us on a personal tour of Hans's LA studio - or Hansylvania, as he calls it - with tracks from the score to Rush by way of accompaniment. Be sure to download the full episode is available to download from Friday 21st October.

Episode 11: Oscar winning director Andrea Arnold talks American Honey  

Andrea Arnold announced herself to the film world by winning an Oscar for her short film Wasp in 2005. Since then her releases Red Road, Fish Tank and American Honey have all won the Jury Prize at Cannes. The latter is her latest offering - a road trip following a 'Mag Crew' as they party their way across the American Midwest selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door - listening to plenty of phat beats. Don't forget you can check out the playlist to the show on Spotify. https://play.spotify.com/user/soundtrackingwithedithbowman Next week: Ron Howard!

Preview: Director Andrea Arnold on the Use of Hip-Hop in her latest film American Honey  

Andrea Arnold is a director whose star is very much on the rise. She won an Academy Award for her short film Wasp in 2005, while her features Red Road, Fish Tank and American Honey all won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The latter is her latest offering - a road trip following a young 'Mag Crew', who travel party their way across the American Midwest as they sell magazine subscriptions door-to-door. The actors were largely untrained and joined Andrea on a real-life road-trip as they shot the movie. Here she discusses the influence of hip-hop, with many of the tracks featured on the soundtrack actually played by the cast off-screen during the course of their odyssey. You can listen to the episode in full from Friday 14th October.

Episode 10: Director Tate Taylor on Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman, James Brown and The Girl On The Train  

In his brief directorial career, Tate Taylor has brought us three very different films requiring three very different soundscapes. First up was his Oscar-nominated Civil Rights drama The Help, set in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962. It is a deeply personal film for Tate and awash with the music of the time - including Ray Charles, Mavis Staples and Johnny Cash. It also saw him collaborate with Thomas Newman for the first time on the score. Then came the James Brown biopic Get On Up - with track after glorious track from The Godfather of Soul. Produced my Mick Jagger and again scored by Thomas, it was built around an incredible performance by Chadwick Boseman in the lead role. Now we have his take on Paula Hawkins international bestseller The Girl On The Train – a psychological thriller featuring suitably claustrophobic sonic undertones. Danny Elfman provides those in spades, and you'll hear plenty of his score in this episode. We also get the story behind Thomas's score for The Help, and of course have the opportunity to play lots and lots of James Brown.

Preview: Director Tate Taylor Reflects on Working with Composer Thomas Newman  

Edith's next edition of Soundtracking is with director Tate Taylor, whose latest film The Girl On The Train is out this week. Based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, it sees him collaborate with the great Danny Elfman on the music. Both Tate's previous films - The Help and Get On Up - were scored by another legendary composer in the shape of Thomas Newman. Here he reveals what it's like to work alongside the man who soundscaped such classics as The Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty. You can download this latest episode in full from Friday 7th October.

Episode 9: Thea Sharrock on her career in the theatre, and now her debut feature film Me Before You, scored by the legendary Craig Armstrong (Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Love Actually)  

Thea Sharrock was brought up on The Ramones. She cut her directorial teeth in theatre, becoming the youngest ever artistic director at a British theatre when she took over at the Southwark Playhouse at the tender age of 24. She went on to direct Happy Now? at the National Theatre, before taking Equus to New York in 2008 - with Daniel Radcliffe making his Broadway debut. In 2009, she directed a production of As You Like It at Shakespeare's Globe. In 2010, she directed Keira Knightley and Damian Lewis in The Misanthrope, then Benedict Cumberbatch in the Olivier-winning revival of After the Dance – before moving to TV with Tom Hiddlestone's Henry V for the BBC. This was beautifully scored by Adrian Johnston - whose work features prominently in this episode. Her debut feature film Me Before You is a romantic drama starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, with a soundtrack featuring Ed Sheeran, Max Jury, Jack Garratt and The 1975 - and a score by the legendary Craig Armstrong (Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Love Actually). Again, there's plenty of Craig's music to enjoy here.

Preview: Director Thea Sharrock on Working with Composer Craig Armstrong  

Edith's next guest is Thea Sharrock - who became the youngest ever artistic director at a British theatre when she joined the Southwark Playhouse in 2001 aged just 24. She went on to direct the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and Kevin Spacey on stage to great critical acclaim. Now she's turned her hand to the screen with Me Before You - an adaptation of the internationally bestselling novel by Jojo Moyes. Here Thea explains why she was so desperate to enlist Craig Armstrong to provide the score for her debut feature film. The full episode is released on Friday.

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