Exclusive: MI6 recently caught up with James Bond
composer David Arnold to talk about his work on Casino
In Conversation With David Arnold (4)
9th May 2007
Exclusive: MI6 recently caught up with James
Bond composer David Arnold to talk about his work on Casino Royale.
In the fourth part
of this serialized interview, he talks about the feel of the
score and the importance of Casino Royale.
How would you describe your feelings of the “Casino
compared to previous Bond films?
Usually when I’m doing one
of these some friends or someone from the studio will come around
and have a look at some things.
What struck me about it was when we are mixing a sequence,
it is clear what the highlights to the film and score are. Well
I think that like the film itself, that was not obvious this
For instance in “The World
Is Not Enough” I thought
the boat chase at the start was one of the musical and dramatic
highlights of that film. If you wanted to see what it was about
you could watch that sequence. Obviously it doesn’t tell
you the story but that would be the moment in the film for one
of the greatest hits in “The World is Not Enough”.
The car-park chase in “Tomorrow
Never Dies” with
the remote control BMW. “Die
Another Day”, the ice
chase, and a lot of action stuff.
What was intersecting about “Casino Royale” was
the story was so intriguing, you almost couldn’t pick a
moment and say this is the moment. I mean the torture sequence
was a kind of dramatic highlight. But apart from getting us in
and getting us out the music is not in that sequence and it never
was so I guess if we’d have scored that it might have been
that. I think if we’d have scored it would have been half
the scene that it was because it would have softened the whole
I think that there wasn’t a kind of tent pole moment.
There are bits of the Miami international sequence and Parkour
chase that are very exciting, but we’re not relying on
music for it to be great, it’s great anyway and I think
that that’s a big difference – that you know this
film is… perhaps you’d struggle to find a moment
in a great spy thriller where you said you know this is it – you
have to watch the whole film.
It is about the whole film, not a moment. Every bit is almost
as crucial as the next bit and some of my favourite moments are
actually subtler moments – the bathroom where Vesper’s
covered in blood in the shower or Solange on
the beach are very satisfying musical moments for me.
My experience of the score and the film is that I pretty
much like all of it, although some bits more than others.
We were talking about this for the BAFTA’s when they
showed bits for the awards.
I think of the music of him running up a crane to the
riff from “You Know My Name” and I'm thinking
that’s not the Vesper in the shower bit or the Miami… you
felt like trying to pick a moment of Daniel’s performance
that represented his performance in that film will sell
it short because you have to be there for the whole thing.
So that’s kind of my feeling of. So, there’s
probably not a moment I could play and say this is the
highlight of the score.
Do you think you’ll use any of the motifs you’ve
created for “Casino Royale” and which is your
favourite motif or character theme?
I liked the piano, the
kind of desperate, sad piano of Vesper’s
element before they fell in love with each other – when
it was kind of exposed and frail. I like that moment. I like
the opening riff, the opening riff of “You Know My
Name” it works in the film Those are probably my favourite
bits; I like the Solange scene. Would I use it again in the
future? It depends what happens in the future. If there are
elements of Vespers story that come back, you know there
may be a reason to use it.
Many think the film is a key turning point
in the franchise, would you agree?
I think so, critically it’s been well received, historically
James Bond has been an enormous umbrella that we all shelter
under and somehow it’s become impervious to criticism and
not related to its performance, although everyone would rather
we made films that were well received critically. It’s
the first time that we’ve had such amazing reviews and
said before it’s a fantastic film and a fantastic Bond
film, and it’s been lined up next to other great films
like "The Queen" and "The Departed".
A lot of that is down to Martin doing a fantastic job.
Daniel Craig had it on his shoulders fair and
square and it could have either gone one way or the other. The
moment I saw
him in the screen test I knew where we were heading and I never
had any doubt. When I was contacted by the BBC to comment on
the headlines after the press conference about Daniel: “James
Bland” and all that kind of stuff, I said to them: if we
were releasing “Casino Royale - the press conference” we
may have a problem, but we weren’t, we were releasing “Casino
Royale - the movie".
A couple of weeks before, we had finished all the screen
tests with Daniel and he was electrifying and I think people
will feel very foolish when they read back over what they
said. I’m very happy for Daniel and I’m happy
for Eon and Sony. It’s re-energised the franchise.
Barbara and Michael have made a lot of bold, tough decisions,
which have turned out to be the right ones.
I’m very pleased with how Sony have done everything:
like turning this album around in two weeks. From delivery
of the parts, to manufacturing and getting it out in stores – that’s
amazing for a major film studio and from a major record
company that just does not normally happen. They made it
happen. I have to take my hat off to them. And the fact
that they gave you so much music on it, and even more on
iTunes, it bodes well for the future. We are in good hands.
Above: US cover art for the soundtrack
CD (Amazon USA)
CD (Amazon UK)
David Arnold composed, arranged and produced the score for Casino Royale, his
fourth James Bond film, following Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough
and Die Another Day. As composer for Casino Royale, Arnold collaborated with
Chris Cornell to write the title song “You Know My Name.”
Hailed as one of the most successful young British
composers, Arnold began his film career making short films with
fellow enthusiast Danny Cannon, teaching himself to write, orchestrate
and compose the scores for their films. In 1993, he scored Cannon’s
feature film debut The Young Americans, combining lush orchestration
with Bjork’s vocals for the title song “Play Dead,” which
earned critical and commercial success. This led to the offer
to score Stargate, Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi film, which
enjoyed box-office success and earned Arnold his first BMI Award.
Winner of seven BMI Awards for his music for
Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day,
Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla and 2 Fast 2 Furious, he
also won a Grammy for Independence Day and recently won the Royal
Television Society Award for the title music of the UK comedy
series “Little Britain.” In addition, he won the
Ivor Novello Award for the music for The World Is Not Enough.
He has been recognized by the film industry as a talented and
diverse composer, arranger and producer, whose scores include
Shaft, Changing Lanes, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Stepford Wives and,
most recently, Michael Apted’s Amazing Grace, Venus directed
by Roger Michell, and Hot Fuzz directed by Edgar Wright.
Royale Official Soundtrack - Preview
Know My Name - Single Preview
Cornell On Casino Royale
Many thanks to David Arnold. Check out his official website