David Arnold was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 to discuss
his work on the Casino Royale soundtrack and the
David Arnold Discusses Casino Royale
26th October 2006
Radio 4 interviewed composer David Arnold
this week to discuss his latest work on the upcoming James Bond
film Casino Royale.
Daniel Craig's performance as Bond is reported
to be hard and gritty, as apposed to suave and smooth one.
Will you be reflecting
the 'alpha-male' tendencies of the new Bond (Daniel Craig)
in the music?
That formed the entire approach to it. Certainly
Pierce Brosnan's Bond and the films he was in were much more
silly, a lot of fun and exciting, romantic and dangerous all
at the same time.
But Casino Royale is an entirely different
proposition. It's like, for the first time since Sean Connery,
I believe this James Bond can do the things he is doing.
Daniel's great strength is to bring that sense of truth
and believability to a character that some might think
is not worthy of that kind of attention.
For me, when I watched Dan walking on
the set, there's something about the way that he moves.
There is a send
of 'get out my way' and there's nothing that's going to
stop him, in a fashion that I haven't seen since Connery
walked. He had that kind of panther-like grace and 'alpha-male'
is absolutely the key phrase. That aspect of masculinity
that Dan has and is bringing to it, I figured I had to
match [in the music].
If you tried to physically describe
what the music was doing, it would be two clenched fists,
whereas before it might have been gently stroking something,
I don't know, but masculinity and alpha-male were the
two key words.
Above: Composer David Arnold returns for his fourth Bond
outing with "Casino Royale"
There are tantalising hints
in the track titles like "Bond
Wins It All" and "The End of an Aston Martin".
You are one of the few people of have seen the film. Can you
tell us any secrets?
Well the special effects are very physical,
so we haven't got any CGI. There's a huge section in the middle
where the drama
is contained around a table, where they are playing poker with
huge amounts at stake. Cinematically, of course, that doesn't
lend itself to great excitement, but there's such an incredible
sense of tension. That amount of drama of that amount of time,
I haven't really had chance to do before in a Bond film, because
it really hasn't gone for more than two minutes without something
blowing up! In that respect, I thought I should get back to what
was great about some of the early films, the low harps and the
fruity bass flutes, with everything sounding quite delicious
Tell us about the process of composing the score. Do you sit
down in a room with the movie and play scenes and compose as
you go along?
Well, that's basically it. You know, it's about
as unglamorous as you could possibly imagine it. It's a small
quite dark, you're in there by yourself. You have the picture
infront of you begging you to do something for it. The exciting
parts of it are a) being asked to do it, b) the terror of realising
you have to do it, and then c) with the script I'll visit the
set talk to the director and the actors. It's trying to come
up with 'what is the music of this film going to be?', 'what
is it going to sound like?', 'what is it going to feel like?'...
all those nebulous ideas that have about what it could be, then
have some kind of concrete form, something you can play to someone
and say 'if I play you this, this is what this film is about'
and 'does that make sense to you?'. You have that with the director
and the producers and if everyone's OK then you get to the graft
part which is then making that fit the picture which is infront
UK cover art for the "Casino Royale" original motion picture
You're a huge Bond fan. How important do you think the
scores are to all the films?
I think they're absolutely inseparable
and essential. For me, 50% of what one experiences in any
film is down
to the music. I think John Barry's work with the series
initially set the benchmark.
How contemporary do you have to make it? How influenced
are you by what is happening in the charts at the time?
It's interesting because when John Barry
was doing them, he was gloriously ignoring anything that
was going on.
When he wrote "Diamonds
Are Forever", "Sergeant
Pepper" had already been made. He produced a series
of absolutely timeless, gorgeous, beautiful songs.
I think it was only in the '70s , probably "Live
And Let Die", and then Marvin
Hamlisch's "The Spy Who Loved Me" score, did they start paying homage to whatever was popular
at the time. I think it got to a point where, 11, 12, 13, 14
Bond songs, there was probably nothing wrong with saying 'here
we are at this point in time now'. Roger
Moore had safari suits
and disco music alongside him. Even thought it firmly places
in that time, I'm not sure that there isn't really anything to
be had for saying 'let's make this absolutely timeless' and 'let's
make it so it doesn't date'. Again, it's one of those odd phenomena
that in two year's time there's going to be another one.
In the same way that the films reflect a certain
contemporary nature in sort of political issues, no matter how
are, it does inform what you do. I think there are the classic
approaches obviously, the "Goldfinger" model, or the
'come hither, velvet curtain, you're a dangerous stranger' kind
of song as well. But, I have no problem with it being contemporary
and I really don't worry whether or not it's going to feel OK
in ten years time. I think if it feels right for now, this is
when people are going to be experiencing the music, this is when
people are going to be experiencing the movie, I write for what
is I think it right for the time.
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (Eon
Productions) and directed by Martin Campbell, CASINO ROYALE
is scheduled for release on November 16, 2006 in the UK. Principal
photography started on January 30th 2006, with locations in
the UK, Czech
Republic (Prague), Italy, and the Bahamas. It will be British
actor Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond. He is
the sixth actor to play the 007 role in the franchise.
Royale OST Preview
Images courtesy Amazon Associates.