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JOHN FRIZZELL / LEGION (2010) - Page 1

For his feature film directorial debut, Scott Stewart hired John Frizzell to compose the music for Legion (2010), and while it's ostensibly a theological thriller, the music goes against the grain and contains few of the familiar stylistic approaches of the sub-genre. There are chorales and a big orchestral sound, but they're minor components in Frizzell's palette, which also includes electronics, and processed organic sounds.

As in prior conversations with Frizzell, there are comments on the music, but things eventually branch out into scoring aesthetics, as well as the potential shift in returning to the organic roots of fillm scoring after a good twenty years of sound samples and pre-programmed keyboards.



___Not in Good Humor...___


Mark R. Hasan: When you create themes and motifs, do you base these on the script, or do you wait until there's a finished cut before you start creating those score elements?

John Frizzell: I hardly ever write before I see picture, and I'm rarely hired before there is picture. That's just sort of the way things work. I think that waiting for picture is a good idea, because a huge amount of the influence comes from the actual look of the film; not so much how a character is dressed, but how the colours are emphasized, the tone, the brightness, the darkness. These types of things have a massive impact on the score, and I'm really guessing in the dark before then...


MRH: The film does have a striking colour scheme.

JF: Absolutely. Scott Stewart is a brilliant visualist. He's really got some dark, rich tones in the film, and it's a great palette to work off.


MRH: In Legion, the moments of large orchestra and choir are a natural for a theological thriller, but your approach felt atypical.

JF: Well, one of the things I wanted to avoid in the action sequences was a choir that was so heavenly in the 'Ooo! Ahh!' sense of the word. I wanted to work more with the idea of these angels being warriors and passionate. Because there's a lot of anger to them, there tends to be more of a chanting or quasi-yelling tone to it, which I really had a good time injecting into it, and I think it sort of propelled things along.


MRH: Because you're renowned for creating unique sounds, do they emerge as you're scoring, or do you sometimes have in advance an idea you'd like to use, or do early ideas get transformed when you come across a certain kind of scene or character?

JF: Well, the main experimental sound that I played with in this film are these things that I call 'frozen sounds,' where I take a very short audio recording and stretch it like a conventional piece of gum, and sort of stretch it across the whole room. I did make some of those before I started on Legion, and I wrote a couple of cues with those sounds and realized how well they worked with the film.

There's quite a bit of that sound in the score. I found them really interesting to work with because they are neither synthesized nor electronic purely; they're really stuck in the middle of 'purgatory.' You can't make a decision as to which they are, and I like that.

Read the Blu-ray review!



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