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Danny Elfman vs. Director Sam Raimi - no joy in Spideyville

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by JohnWesleyDowney, Apr 16, 2006.

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  1. JohnWesleyDowney

    JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 27, 2004


    This interview from chud.com talks about the war between composer Danny Elfman
    and director Sam Raimi as they were finishing Spiderman 2. I've never seen such
    a public and nasty dispute between filmmaker and composer. I edited out the expletives.
    This is from chud.com


    You may remember that last month CHUD.com brought you the world breaking scoop that Danny Elfman and Sam Raimi had a major falling out, and that Elfman wouldn't work on Spider-Man 3 - or any other future Raimi projects. I followed up on that with Bruce Campbell, who was surprised to learn about the rift, and could only guess that when the stakes in the movie business get raised, everything gets heated.

    Now Daniel Robert Epstein, intrepid reporter, has gotten more from the Elf-Man about this titanic tussle.

    DRE: I read how you're not going to work on Spider-Man 3. Do you want to
    comment on that?

    ELFMAN: Let me put it this way, there is no amount of money that anybody
    could offer me to do Spider-Man 3. I would sooner go back to bussing
    tables,.

    DRE: I look on the IMDB and I see six people credited with the music on
    Spider-Man 2. Did that contribute to your feelings?

    ELFMAN: It's all about how the production went completely insane at the end.
    It was the worst film experience I've had in 20 years. It was all pure
    insanity, it was all completely needless and in the end they went nuts
    trying to imitate every single note of their temp score. If I think
    somebody's obsessively attached to a temporary score in any way I'd stay away
    from it. But this was the worst I've seen times ten and I've worked with
    some pretty anal directors. Warren Beatty and Martin Brest are not easy
    people but this was taking anal retentive to a new extreme.

    DRE: It's odd because Sam Raimi is a guy you've been working with for 15
    years.

    ELFMAN: Sam was not there.

    He was there, but he was not the Sam that I knew. As you said, I've known
    Sam for almost 15 years. It was my fifth movie with him and all I can say is
    that the person who was there at the end of Spider-Man 2 was not Sam. I
    don't know who it was, but it wasn't Sam. It was as close to living out
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as I've ever experienced. There's a lot of
    micro-managers out there. Tim Burton's a micro-manager musically in his own way and
    there's moments where he'll get real obsessive over like a certain cue. But
    we work it out. Never in 20 years have I come across a situation where I
    couldn't work it out. For a director to be a micro-manager is nothing new.
    If anything I would say most of them are. But to get to the level where you
    don't need a composer, you just need a musical arranger to adapt note for
    note as close as possible. There's nothing for me to do as a composer here.

    DRE: Would you work with Sam again?

    ELFMAN: Not if I can help it.

    It's too bad because Sam was at the top of my list. He was actually even
    easier than Tim Burton to work with and we'd never had a disagreement. To see such
    a profound negative change in a human being was almost enough to make me
    feel like I didn't want to make films anymore. It was really disheartening
    and sad to see the way it ended up. The end of Spider-Man 2 was a
    self-induced hysteria. It got to a point where I couldn't even adapt my own
    music close enough because two thirds of their temp score was Spider-Man 1.
    If I varied from one note it was like a self-induced hysteria.

    DRE: That's bizarre.

    ELFMAN: They wanted this one cue that was basically from Hellraiser and I
    was like "I can't get any closer and I'm not going to imitate [Hellraiser
    composer] Christopher Young. Go ******* hire Christopher Young." So they
    hired Christopher Young to do a cue like Hellraiser and he couldn't get
    close enough to Hellraiser so they ended up licensing the cue from
    Hellraiser.


    I'm really curious to see who takes the job of composing music for Spiderman III.
    Elfman has a reputation as an affable, "easy to work with" guy and he's been very
    busy the last 20 year
     
  2. Indiana_Fett

    Indiana_Fett Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 12, 2004
    That's a shame. I always see composers as nice, calm people, and to see Elfman at his worst right now is just depressing. I knew something was wrong when I saw Spider-Man 2 when I heard more cues from Spider-Man than original material.
     
  3. Jedi-Washington

    Jedi-Washington Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Well, that's a shame. I can't say I agree with making something like that public, but I guess it's a way to vent. That is one of the biggest insults you can make to composers though, to have them follow a temp track for even a cue is an insult. If they get uppidy about the entire film, that's grounds for abandoning a project, but I'm glad he stuck with it, even if he was ticked off. Definately not a good things for Elfman to go public with this, though.

    Oh well, that's hollywood for you. I hope Elfman is able to go back to making is scores, as he does a very good job.

    ~JW
     
  4. Strilo

    Strilo Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2001
    He's already done more scores since Spidy 2. He did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005, which was wonderful. I'd say no worries about Elfman.
     
  5. Son of the Suns

    Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    May 6, 1999
    I had known for some time that he wasn't going to do Spider-man III, but I had no idea that these were the circumstances behind that decision. Very depressing indeed. Here's hoping that whoever composes the score to the film gets treated respectfully.
     
  6. Well_Of_Souls

    Well_Of_Souls Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 26, 2001
    Elfman deserves better. All I can say.
     
  7. HL&S

    HL&S Magistrate Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 2001
    I agree WoS
     
  8. JohnWesleyDowney

    JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 27, 2004


    Apparently, Raimi REALLY likes the music of Christopher Young,
    the Hellraiser composer whose music he wanted Elfman to mimic.

    Christopher Young has been signed to do the score for Spiderman III.

    Nothing against Christopher Young, but I would have preferred Elfman.
    I wonder if Raini will try to make Young mimic Elfman's work?
    Wouldn't that be the ultimate irony?

    Anything can happen. It's Hollywood, after all.
     
  9. Palpateen

    Palpateen Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2000

    Im amazed they're gonna give a big movie like Spiderman3 to some composer no one ever heard of. Christopher Young? What about Howard Shore? Han Zimmer? James Newton-Howard? James Horner? How about a heavyweight? The whole thing doesn't make sense to me. [face_thinking]
     
  10. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    Raimi hasn`t been the same,I think the moneys gone to his head.

    I`m a huge fan of Raimi's work but the Spidey films just seem so generic compared to his other movies
     
  11. Jedi-Washington

    Jedi-Washington Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Well, I hate to say it, but Raimi is probably just a middle man of this. Most of the time music problems are not from the director himself, but from producers and marketing directors. I don't think all hope it lost for Raimi's work to be good, but this sounds like Raimi taking the blame for higher people up the totem pole being annoying. It's rare to see a composer be that angry about it towards the director if it's from other places, but there's a chance it could be others.

    ~JW
     
  12. HL&S

    HL&S Magistrate Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 2001

    Christopher Young isn't a heavyweight, but he's not a jobber. You should listen to his score to Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Truly a classic and some might say one of the greatest soundtracks ever.
     
  13. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    I`m a big fan of Young,and even though I`m not expecting much from Spidey 3,it`ll give Young a boost.
     
  14. JohnWesleyDowney

    JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 27, 2004


    I did some checking and found out Christopher Young had worked with Raimi before.
    He scored Raimi's film before the first Spiderman, "The Gift."

    Interestingly, though Elfman did not score "The Gift", he had an ACTING ROLE in it!
    He played a fiddler in a dream sequence. Guess he was too busy to do the score
    but Raimi gave him a small role in it.

    Gee, I learn something new everyday!
     
  15. Drac39

    Drac39 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2002
    I`m surprised Raimi didn`t turn to Joe LoDuca,who scored his Evil Dead films
     
  16. Tomtrek

    Tomtrek Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 26, 2002
    That would have been my first guess, too. LoDuca even did some of the music on Spidey 2.
     
  17. El Kabong

    El Kabong Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 28, 1999
    Huzzah! Huzzah! And there was much rejoicing!

    As far as I'm concerned, that ham fisted hack and his recycled Batman score was the anchor that was holding the Spiderman series back from acheving true "Superman: The Movie" levels of superhero greatness. The further away from the film he stays, the better I'll like it.

    Funny, I like Oingo-Boingo. Just cant stand his film score work. Go figure.

    I should be so lucky.

    (Side note - I'm not a complete cold hearted bastard. It's a shame that it was the the breaking up a 15 year friendship. That bit sucks - but I still dont like his scores.)
     
  18. Well_Of_Souls

    Well_Of_Souls Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 26, 2001
    Spider-Man sounds nothing like Batman to my ears. I'll never understand this criticism.
     
  19. El Kabong

    El Kabong Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 28, 1999
    Tell you what, I'll be generous and give you that. Perhaps I'm smoking crack or something.

    That just means that the Batman score AND the Spiderman score both suck, instead of just one copying the other and the other merely sucking.
     
  20. Well_Of_Souls

    Well_Of_Souls Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 26, 2001
    Well, I can't argue with your logic.

    I guess the rest of us will just have to go on enjoying both of those awesome scores. :)
     
  21. JohnWesleyDowney

    JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 27, 2004

    I guess the rest of us will just have to go on enjoying both of those awesome scores.

    Yes indeed. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. ;)
     
  22. The-Tennis-Ball-Kid

    The-Tennis-Ball-Kid Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2004
    [link=http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=23575]Elfman's troubles with temp-tracks continue:[/link]

    [blockquote]According to Steve Bartek (Elfman?s orchestrator for the last 20 years), Danny has removed his name from the credits of the film.

    Steve posted a note in the forum section of his web site regarding this recent development.

    Here is the aforementioned quote:


    Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:22 am
    Post subject: Nacho Libre disclaimer
    a warning to all - Danny has taken his name off of Nacho Libre -
    apparently a couple of the main cues we spent lots of time on were
    taken out and replaced with music Danny didn't want to be associated with (and I believe he was upset about the way the studio treated him
    in doing the replacement - not very above board- so most of the score
    is still Danny - but his name will not be there
    Steve[/blockquote]


    [face_plain]



    ttbk, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
     
  23. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    The "Spider-Man" score is so derivative that it aint even funny.

    Burton outdid himself on "Batman" -- that is a true classic. But "Spider-Man"? Give me a break. Vague choral wailings, equally vage brass... no motifs. It lacks any sense of style or flavour. There's absolutely nothing memorable about it whatsoever. "Spider-Man" would have been better served with a sultry, jazzy theme (e.g. "The Incredibles"), or in the other direction, something industrial and guitar-driven.
     
  24. Well_Of_Souls

    Well_Of_Souls Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 26, 2001
    Vague choral wailings, equally vage brass... no motifs.

    Not true. These scores are very dense and very thematic. Elfman's approach was the perfect way to go: colorful, fun, energetic, heroic, and memorable (to my ears, at least).

    I wish people could hear what I hear when I listen to these scores. It's really a good time and I am saddened by the treatment that Elfman has received of late.
     
  25. Indiana_Fett

    Indiana_Fett Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 12, 2004
    I love the whole City Montage in the first film.
     
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