Exclusive: MI6 recently caught up with James Bond
composer David Arnold to talk about his work on Casino
Royale and the future for 007...
In Conversation With David Arnold (5)
29th July 2007
Exclusive: MI6 recently caught up with James
Bond composer David Arnold to talk about his work on Casino Royale.
In the fiftth part
of this serialized interview, he talks about comparisons
in the series, how Bond 22 may progress the style adopted for
Casino Royale, and an unused song...
It felt like a creative reboot for
me, I didn’t feel as constrained
by the action beats
as I did with the massiveness of
“The World Is
Not Enough” and “Die Another Day”.
One of your great quotes about working on Bond is that the two
criticisms you've always had are, `it sounds too much like John
Barry` and `it doesn't sound enough like John Barry`. Has that
feedback lessened in recent years as you've worked on more Bond's
and have had time to assert your own style on the series?
There is another one you can add to that, which is "why
do we never get the whole score on a CD? "... then, "this
soundtracks a bit long isn’t?" We are in the "you
can’t win land".
Yes maybe, for some people Sean
Connery will always be James
Bond and for others he won’t. For some people John Barry
will always be the definitive and undeniable sound of James Bond,
and wrote the greatest Bond scores. I’m firmly in that
camp, some people who have written to tell me that “Casino
Royale” is their greatest James Bond film ever and has
the best music ever as far as they are concerned.
For some people that will be true of “Die
Another Day” and Pierce Brosnan, others O.H.M.S.S. and George
Lazenby and for some it will be Duran Duran and others
it will be Shirley Bassey. It’s a really intriguing – we
are looking at the 21 film, 45 year franchise and we are
still arguing about it.
At one point during “Die Another Day” I was
writing a piece of music for James Bond in a powered ice
ski car being chased by a space laser beam escaping from
a melting ice hotel, with a villain with a remote controlled
thing on his arm and somebody else’s face. Somebody
once wrote that the music was a little over the top, maybe
they should watch the film!
I think you are always going to get comparisons - the people
that love John Barry are never going to fully accept what
somebody else does as being better, possibly in their opinion
because its not! I think that is completely understandable.
I think John Barry is very different to me. I think he is
a remarkable and elegant writer.
Above: US cover art for the soundtrack
CD (Amazon USA)
CD (Amazon UK)
It is a fantastic privilege to be walking in John's shadow,
he casts a very long shadow over the entire franchise. It’s
something that I’m very aware of and I think his sound
is the sound of James Bond. If anything, Daniel has given us
the chance to perhaps try something more like me. I think we
started to get there with “Casino Royale”. We may
not have got there all the way. There is an enormous amount of
music in these films, there is a lot of redoing, editing changes,
just like every film.
the music to the films that are in front of me,
that were made 30 or 40 years ago"
You have to get through two to three minutes of music per day
and that is to conceive what has it got to be, time it to make
it fit, write it, roughly arrange, get it into a shape where
you can play it for the director; this is what the scene is going
to be. Two or three minutes a day with a movie with huge expectations,
when you are doing that everyday for weeks and weeks, it’s
not like you’ve got a week to consider three minutes of
music. Like everybody does on these films, you have to get through
so much per day, otherwise you don’t get it done. It’s
always very exciting. I’m very happy with “Casino
Royale” as a film and my heart is in it and I’m intrigued
to see where we go next.
Assuming that you’re asked back for Bond 22 do you
have any ideas where the music will take us or will you wait
to see the script and formulate ideas based on that?
Well I’ve kind of got an idea of where I want to
go and it’s strengthened by the way that this film
has been received. But I’ve said before on some interview;
someone asked me “have you any idea where the music’s
going to take Bond 22?” and I said, “I think
Bond tends to take me, I tend not to take him.” Wherever
he goes, I’ll be going so musically I’ll be
Any chance of 'I Will Return' being used soon?
At the moment it exists as a first verse and chorus, so
there is nothing else to it, Don Black came up with the
most fantastic first line, it was linked to the Fountains
of Desire cue from “Die Another Day” . It was
the first two lines of the song. We never got to finish
the rest of it because we knew that it wasn’t going
to be used in the film as a song. Don had a fantastic opening
couple of lines, we may use it at some point. “Before
you make your move, think of the consequences…” was
the first line. but it just seemed like a great line to
open a film. Nevertheless it wasn’t to be, it might
be one of the things we can revisit. I think the idea is
a good, even though we’ve used the melody in “Die
If we ever get to the end of a movie and there is going to be
a different song from the opening titles… I like the idea
of a lyric being about the last thing you see in the cinema, ‘James
Bond will return.’
Do you have any plans for a second "Shaken & Stirred" album
in the future at all?
No, it took long enough and I’m deeply
associated with James Bond enough. I don’t want to do more
on my days off. But it was great fun to make.
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