Award-winning film composer Marco Beltrami recently spoke to us about his experience scoring new indie flick The Sessions. The Ben Lewin-directed movie, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, is based on the true story of Mark O'Brien, a poet paralyzed from the neck down due to polio, who spends most of his time in an iron lung. In order to lose his virginity, O'Brien - at the age of 38 - hires a sex surrogate. The film debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award and a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. Here's what Marco had to say...
The thing that struck me most after first viewing The Sessions was the charm of Mark O'Brien and the intimacy that the director, Ben Lewin, manages to capture perfectly on screen. I did not feel forced or cajoled in any way into believing the story. Rather, the story sucked me in and totally captivated me.
My instinct for the music was that it should do the same. When the sessions are going on, the hypnotic sound of crystal bowls could perhaps lure the audience into the sensation of being touched. When Cheryl finally, finally falls for Mark, it should be as if a flower were beginning to bloom. Musically, this requires a delicate melody that would provide the subconscious subtext.
The main thing was that the music be sparse. The film is so well acted that the music did not need to enhance any emotion. Instead, I found my task to be more of providing a sparse reflection of the very fragile realm known as love.
The Sessions, starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and more, was released in select theaters on October 19th, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.thesessionsmovie.com/ and view the official trailer below.
The soundtrack to The Sessions is out digitally via Lakeshore Records and can be purchased at the iTunes Store here.
Upon completing undergraduate study at Brown University, Marco Beltrami entered the Yale School of Music on a scholarship. His pursuit of music composition then lead him to Venice for a period of studio with the Italian master, Luigi Nono and then finally to Los Angeles to undertake a fellowship with Academy Award-winning composer, Jerry Goldsmith.
Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, Marco landed Wes Craven's Scream, embarking on what would become the widely successful terror franchise. In his approach to scoring the film, he threw away conventional horror music clichés and instead called upon his concert music roots to explore a new sonic landscape.
After Scream, Marco went on to write his critically acclaimed score for Guillermo Del Toro's Mimic. This was the first of several collaborations with Del Toro, including Hellboy and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Subsequently, his resume has expanded to include films ranging from epic drama to dark comedy, working with some of the most recognizable names in the industry such as Kathryn Bigelow, James Mangold, Robert Rodriguez, Luc Besson, David Goyer, Bertrand Tavernier, Alex Proyas, Jonathan Mostow, Roland Joffe, Len Wiseman, Jodie Foster, David E. Kelly and Tommy Lee Jones.
Marco has been nominated twice for Academy Awards for Best Score. First, for 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, and shortly after for his score to 2010's groundbreaking Best Picture, The Hurt Locker. Most recently, Marco's score for Soul Surfer, won the 2012 Satellite Awards for Best Film Score of The Year.
Visit Marco Beltrami on the web at http://www.marcobeltrami.com/.