horror and sci-fi fans, the young and gifted Marco Beltrami is a well
known name since he scored such genre efforts like "Scream", "Mimic", "Resident
Evil" and "Blade II". In july 2003, when his first big budget film - "Terminator
3: Rise of The Machines" - was hitting the silver screens, Beltrami gave a
little break on the score of "Hellboy" and granted us with an exclusive
Jorge Saldanha - Mr. Beltrami it´s a real pleasure for me to conduct this interview for our readers. The first time I saw your name in the big screen was in "Scream", but the first score of yours who really catched my attention was "Mimic", I really appreciated the boy´s voice in the Main Title. You made a lot of genre films music and of course all of them are high quality works. I´m sure the scoretrackers want to know something more about your career and work. You are mostly known as a "horror/sci-fi composer". How do you feel about it?
Marco Beltrami - It's fine for now; most of the big box office movies I've done have been that genre and I'm still young so there's time to change that impression. I feel I have a lot to contribute to other types of films as well.
JS - What is your musical background?
MB - Master's in music composition from Yale School of Music.
JS - How did you get started? On TV or movies?
MB - A TV series called "Lands End" followed by a couple movies of the week, followed by "Scream".
JS - Are you italian-born?
MB - No. I was born in Long Island, NY in 1966. My father's side is italian, my mother's side is greek.
JS - Was your first major assignment Wes Craven´s "Scream "?
MB - Yes, it was.
JS - Tells us something about that work.
MB - I heard they were searching for a composer from a friend of his assistant. I put a tape together which he heard and liked. I met him on a friday afternoon and he showed me the opening scene (13 min., Drew Barrymore´s death scene). Craven asked me to demo my ideas for it and bring it in monday AM. It worked out!
JS - What kind of input Craven gave for the "Scream" scores?
MB - He helped me in what to sting, where to lay out (like for instance before a big surprise).
JS - From the three "Scream" movies what´s your favorite, in terms of music?
MB - Probably the 1st.
JS - By the way, how that "Broken Arrow" music became the theme for one of the major characters?
MB - It was used in the temp.
JS - In your music do you have any influence from classic or modern film music composers?
MB - Yes. Everything i hear is a potential source of influence.
JS - In composing terms, do you feel more comfortable with small ensembles or large orchestras?
MB - Either.
JS - Stylistically how do you describe your music?
MB - I don't really. Others seem to do a fine job of that.
JS - What kind of relationship you had with the directors you worked for?
MB - So far, so good!
JS - In the movies you scored, the directors made any major change in your music?
MB - Not yet...
JS - It seems for me that you and Guillermo Del Toro keep a healthy and continuing collaboration, in movies like "Mimic", "Blade II" and the upcoming "Hellboy". He looks to be a very funny guy.
MB - Yes, he does have a sharp sense of humor.
JS - How did you both meet?
MB - I met him up in Toronto on the shoot of "Mimic" and found myself responding to his unique sense of filmmaking.
JS - In the "Blade II" DVD we can see some footage from recordings sessions with you and the director. Del Toro attended at all the sessions?
MB - Yes he did.
JS - What kind of collaboration he gave to the score?
MB - He encouraged a samurai-like approach to the Blade character and adapting certain motives for different areas of the film.
JS - Your next assignment for Del Toro is "Hellboy". Right now what you can tell us about the movie and it´s music?
MB - Looks great so far. Should be a big orchestral score with heavy emphasis on themes.
JS - I´m a big fan from the "Resident Evil" game series and I think the movie is cool, but in fact I prefer the music from the games. The score is too loud and noisy, for most part it doesn´t have the ambience from the game soundtrack. How did you handle this work?
MB - Oh well. It was a collaborative effort with Marilyn Manson and was meant to be aggressive, electronic and full of adenaline. I thought it actually came out pretty well.
JS - About this partnership with Manson in "Resident Evil", he wrote the main title and what else?
MB - It was pretty much 50/50.
JS - And Manson is really a freaky guy?
MB - What do you think?
JS - Your last finished project is "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines", on a theater nearby and with a nice score CD by Varèse Sarabande on sale. The serie´s original composer, Brad Fiedel, was considered by director Jonathan Mostow?
MB - No, i don't think so. Jonathan heard my music in the temp, liked it and fought for me to score the picture.
JS - In previous "Terminator" movies the music was cold and played only in synthesizers, a perfect match for the Terminator and the future world ruled by machines. For this chapter, besides the synths you choose a large orchestra to play the music. Why?
MB - I think T3 has a different feel and scope than T1 and T2, and so the music needed to be different as well.
JS - In the "Terminator 3" CD about 40 minutes of music are missing. What a shame, don´t you think?
MB - It was hard to pick, but unfortunately music had to be cut. The CD lenght had to be 45 min. for union/cost reasons so yes, there is quite a bit missing.
JS - The "Terminator 3" CD includes a new orchestral arrangement from the original Brad Fiedel´s theme. This theme was integrated in the underscore?
MB - No, it is used only when the film cuts to black at the end.
JS - "Terminator 3" is your first big budget feature. Do you think this assignment will change your career?
MB - We'll see.
JS - Among all scores you composed for TV and movies, what is your favorite?
MB - Tough one. Can't say.
JS - Mr. Beltrami, thank you very much, and... good luck!
MB - Thank you for the interest. I'm trying hard to keep film music an exciting and innovative medium.
Special thanks to Chad Joseph from Costa Communications, for making this interview possible.
Visit Marco Beltrami´s website at http://www.marcobeltrami.com/.