Following up their magnificent three-part David Arnold interview (here and here) recorded late last year, Stage & Screen Online are back with an exclusive discussion with the man behind the music of James Bond.
Recorded at the scoring stage for Quantum of Solace, this audio interview between Tommy Pearson and Arnold took place just as work was wrapping up on the score for the film.
‘We’ve got today and we’ve got tomorrow,’ Arnold says. ‘It’s been going very well, actually. I guess it’s a bit more unusual in that the music and the film are either incredibly dark and ambiguous, you know with the whole issue of who you can or can’t trust, and then it’s very explosive. It follows Bond’s shape more than anything.’
He continues: ‘With Daniel [Craig] in this one, there’s not only the revenge thing going on, but there’s also a lot of suspicion as to who is doing what and why they’re doing it and who it is that he can put his faith in. And he ends up being able to trust only one or two people, and even they become slightly suspicious as the film evolves. It’s quite a tricky situation he’s put himself in this time. It’s not black and white and you’re not sure where the bad part is coming from. We know that Greene is apart of something that is much bigger, the same way that [Casino Royale‘s] Le Chiffre was, but I think everyone knows that it’s not just about him; that he’s just the latest figurehead that represents an ongoing problem with this organization called Quantum.’
‘It struck me from the beginning while reading the script that Vesper should cast a shadow over him and that whenever we can, we should be reminded in these moments of silence that is what he’s thinking about.’ – David Arnold
‘Originally, I thought I would write something for Greene, a kind of Greene theme, and eventually I realized the thing to do was actually to write something for the organization, to write something for Quantum. The organization is sort of all-pervasive and kind of has slippery, oily tentacles in lots of different places where you hadn’t expected them to be…’
Quantum of Solace
Arnold also confirmed the strong performance of Craig as Bond as an influence on the film’s music. ‘A lot of it is still Daniel’s performance which defines him in this film, but now we know him a little bit better and we know a little bit of the background between him and the organization that Le Chiffre worked for and now Greene is kind of the figurehead of.’
He adds: ‘It’s more about–and this is where Marc Forster’s influence is probably more obvious–in that we sort of describe the internal goings-on rather than the external. We try and figure out what’s going on underneath. It’s a much more organic, dark, introspective and kind of ambiguous sound in some of these sequences that I’ve used. There’s very organic-sounding synthetic elements. Whereas normally you might have cellos and basses, we have deep, dark, throbbing electronic sound with real strings and violins over the top. In other occasions, we have the orchestra providing the bottom-end and some uncomfortable, ugly top-end stuff going on. So it’s a much more ambiguous kind of score and unsettling in some places.’
‘In this film, we try and get much more internal. We try and figure out what’s going on underneath.’ – David Arnold
‘And of course, you have the action sequences which need to be propulsive and energetic and all the things they need to be. So, they’re still there and there’s still a couple of grand Bond-arriving moments, but it’s very different. It’s a tighter, darker, much quicker film, so the music needs to reflect that is what’s happening.’
There’s much more. Visit Stage & Screen Online to listen to the entire David Arnold interview.
Keep your browsers pointed to the CommanderBond.net main page for the most up-to-date and complete coverage of Quantum of Solace.