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BEAR MCCREARY (2010) - Page 3

MRH: I like the fact that you also keep your moving between comedy, horror, psychological drama, and other genres, and your current project is The Walking Dead for Frank Darabont. I’m curious how that is different from your horror film scores like Rest Stop?


BM: It’s different in its approach and it’s ironically similar in its instrumentation. The score to the Walking Dead is built up of several different kinds of families of instrumentation. One of them is a very stripped-down minimal orchestra between 7-10 players that’s kind of like the Bernard Herrmann or Ennio Morricone approach.

Another one is more of a bluegrass approach: it’s got banjos and dulcimer and auto-harps and dobro. These are actually sounds that I played around with in Rest Stop and Joe Lynch’s Wrong Turn 2, so in a way I had already practiced this kind of country-bluegrass horror scoring, and that’s the way it’s similar.

The Walking Dead is not necessarily overtly scary. The tone of the show is very different than a typical horror movie. (I wanted to say horror TV show, but there aren’t many to compare it to.) It’s really a character drama. It happens to be set in a zombie apocalypse, so while I’m setting the tone and creating a lot of great ambiance and atmosphere, most of the time I’m commenting on some character [or] on something beneath the surface - kind of like what I was talking about in Human Target, although it sounds very different on the surface.

In that way, Walking Dead is a really unique opportunity because you’re working with a filmmaker like Frank Darabont who’s crafting a really well put together dramatic story... I think people that might expect the show is just a typical zombie story are going to be really surprised; and then of course fans of the graphic novel know that this story is actually wonderful, and I think they’re going to be thrilled at how loyal to the comic Frank has stayed.



MRH: What was it like working with Darabont, because he’s got an interesting background with horror, haveing done a number of franchise films, and novel adaptations?


BM: The first horror film of Frank’s that I really fell in love with was The Blob (1988), which he wrote, and I just think The Blob is one of those underrated gems of a movie, and especially because of Frank’s screenplay: you don’t know who the main character is, and  you really don’t know who’s going to live and who’s going to die.

Even when I was growing up, I was like ‘This Frank Darabont guy that I like. Who is this guy?’ So to be able to work with him now is exciting, and Frank has a real vision. Frank is a visionary director in the true sense of the word, and it’s great to be able to work with somebody who has a tone in mind and knows exactly what they want to experience, and he may not know exactly the kind of instrumentation he wants, or what the theme should sound like, but he’s really great at giving you guidance and pulling you in a direction. In many ways working with John Steinberg on Human Target was the exact same thing, so I’ve been very fortunate to work with producers and directors that have a really strong musical vision.



MRH: And finally, will there be a soundtrack album to The Walking Dead?


BM: 'I hope so' is my short answer. We don’t have any planned release yet, but I’m very hopeful that we’ll be able to put one out.



Read the review!

Composer Bear McCreary

KQEK.com would like to thank Bear McCreary, and Beth Krakower at CineMedia for facilitating this interview.

Visit Bear McCreary's official website HERE.


Also available: Bear McCreary discusses scoring Caprica (2009).

All images remain the property of their copyright holders.

This article and interview © 2010 by Mark R. Hasan

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