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Trailers for Sony's new movie Hellboy


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Has everyone seen these trailers? I have to see this movie. I actually only found the trailers when I decided I recognized the girl but couldn't place her. (Incidentally, she was 'the other woman' in Legally Blonde)

Born in the flames of hell, and brought to our world in a pagan ritual, Hellboy was saved by his friend and mentor, the benevolent Dr. Broom. Raised in Broom's Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy joins the likes of the "Mer-Man" Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, the woman he loves who can psychically control fire, and Myers, the FBI agent who is his rival for Liz's affections.


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Interview with 'Hellboy' Composer Marco Beltrami


CD: You're working with director Guillermo del Toro again, for the third time now after 'Mimic' and 'Blade II' - what is it about this relationship which keeps you coming back to it?

Marco Beltrami: We seemed to click the first time we started working together, and he started asking my musical ideas on 'Mimic'. And he does these dark movies, horror action stuff, and there's often a lyrical quality to a lot of his stuff, which might be part of his Latin descent or something, I don't know. But it's something that I respond to. So it's pretty much been a lot of fun working on this.

CD: Are you responding to 'Hellboy' the same way you did the visuals in 'Mimic' and 'Blade II'?

MB: Definitely, it's sort of his evolution I think from his first movie. And I think there are similarities in all three movies. And in the scores, as well.

CD: You were almost unable to take this job due to scheduling conflicts, and Guillermo almost had to hire another composer, but ultimately you were able to come back and pick up the work again - was that jarring at all?

MB: No, not too bad, I mean I started work and then it was still early on in shooting so I still didn't really have too much, it's not like I'd been working on it for months and then I had to stop.

CD: I read that you were able to visit the set in Prague - how do set visits help a composer during the creative process?

MB: It's kind of nice to see the actual scenes, get a feel for it. It's not essential - the main reason I was there was to check on scoring possibilities in Prague, and while I was there they were [filming] some stuff underground. I was able to talk to Guillermo about his thoughts on scenes while they were shooting, and meet with his cinematographer [Guillermo Navarro], and so forth. So it's helpful in a broad sense. Also, Guillermo was interested in hearing some themes. And rather than just watching dailies, it's a much better representation to actually see the shot.

CD: What level of involvement did Guillermo have with the score; did he have any guidelines? How much input did he give you at the beginning?

MB: No, his words to me were "I'm not gonna say anything to you, do whatever you like." And then when he got back from shooting, I'd been working on it. He's been over to my studio maybe eight or nine times just hearing ideas, and if there's a particular note that he has, then I incorporate what his feeling is. But pretty much, he's left it up to me.

CD: Moving onto the specifics of this score, how would you describe the overall sound of the music for this film? What kind of sound is it; orchestral? Electronics? A marriage of the two?

MB: It's a marriage of the two, but not as much as some previous ones, it's mainly orchestral. It's very thematically based more than textually based. There are a lot of themes, themes for every character. In a sense, it's a very operatic score - it's larger than life, like a lot of Guillermo's stuff. Y'know, having these motifs that play throughout the film to suggest things, that's sort of an operatic concept.

CD: What about this piece made you decide to place emphasis on character themes?

MB: Well, there are a lot of strong, individual characters in the movie. And I think to acknowledge them musically brings that out - there's also a fun quality to this movie. I think by having a theme that accompanies the characters and all, you get to sort of emotionally feel them on a different level. In that sense, I think it helps and I think it keeps the ride going, it makes it fun. I think that was a big part of it. When you watch the movie, you get a feel for what it is that the film needs, and what you feel like you want to do with it. And in this case, as I watched it the first few times, I just started feeling these thematic ideas for different characters and different elements of the movie. And after they were done shooting it all, I started feeling it all tie together, and Guillermo was liking it.

CD: When creating character themes, how do you determine what sound to give the different characters? How much of it is how the character is written and their story in the film, and how much of it is how they look and move?

MB: That's why it's hard, if you're just reading a script, it would be very hard I think to write music that could be appropriate for the film, because it's such a stylized thing, and it really depends on the character, the lighting, the way they act, the costumes, everything, the interaction - it all plays together. And in this case, it's not just the ideas, but also the choice of instruments - in this we're using some unique instruments to bring some of that out.

CD: So in terms of specific examples, what sound did you chose to represent Hellboy?

MB: Well Hellboy, one of his main instruments is played on a baritone guitar, that's part of his theme, which is between an electric guitar and a base guitar, which sort of gives it this raw, low energy and power to it. That in conjunction with brass and woodwinds, full bassoons, it makes for a sort of unique sound. For the 'otherworldly' nature of it, not for Hellboy but for the film in general, we're using a theremin when they're recalling some of the dead. And I use this male choir stuff a lot for [Rasputin], as well as a Russian instrument called a balalaika. The love stuff [between Hellboy and Liz] is pretty traditional stuff, mainly strings.

CD: How do you represent the Abe Sapien character?

MB: Abe is actually a combination of strings and wind. It's not the instruments so much, but it's the way they're used. It's a very fluid, calm type of music, which I think suggests his character pretty well, because he's a very common presence in the movie.

CD: What's the overall mood or tone of the music in this score? You've said that your 'Terminator 3' score played up John Conner's fear and also his courage, and the chase elements of the film - what does this score play up?

MB: I don't know if it's as simple as 'Terminator', having a main focus like that. I think that there are different things in this movie - it's Hellboy, and also his awkwardness, it's also the comedic stuff, a lot of action. I think the score is multifaceted in this movie.

CD: Is there a certain style to scoring comic book films as opposed to other genres of film? Or do you just go with whatever feels right for this specific film?

MB: Yeah, I think that it's an individual thing. I wouldn't say that I have any notions of what you're "supposed to do" before I start. Because then I think you fall into traps, so you should keep an open mind.

CD: What's your favorite part of the scoring process?

MB: The best part is definitely when you're actually scoring with the orchestra, cause that's when it all comes to life. Up until then, it's just sort of like black and white.

CD: Are you happy with the 'Hellboy' score in its current incarnation?

MB: Yeah, I think it's going to be a real fun one. I'm really excited about it; it's going to be one of my best I think.

CD: How does the movie look so far to you?

MB: The movie looks great.

CD: Are you aware of any plans to release the score on CD after the film's release?

MB: There was some talk about that, I don't know what record label they were looking to, how much they were seeking - It's often I get a lot of complaints from the film fans, "How come there's only 30 minutes of music on the CD", or 45 minutes or whatever, and the score is so long and it's because they have to pay a reuse fee, the union, for increments of 15 minutes. So I don't know how much of this they're going to use, how long the CD will be, depends on the record company, and all that stuff is up in the air.

[Ed. Note: Varease Sarabande recently announced that they will be releasing the CD of Marco's score on April 6th]

CD: If the film is successful, would you be interested in coming back and developing your musical themes further for a sequel?

MB: Yeah, in fact there was talk I think even about a TV show or something, based on it. And also sequels, so yeah, these things are a lot of fun.

CD: What's up next for you? Are you still attached to the do the music for Wes Craven's 'Cursed'?

MB: 'Cursed', yeah, it follows right on the heels of this. Their last day of shooting is tomorrow. By the time I get back from scoring this in about a month, I imagine I'll be starting work on 'Cursed'.

CD: Got any final words for the fans who are counting down the days till the movie and hearing your finished music in the film?

MB: Oh, I hope they enjoy it, I hope it's what they're expecting! [Laughs] I've gotten a lot of positive fan mail, and there were also some people that were disappointed - but I guess this here is the first of the series, so, hopefully it'll go well.

CD: I'm sure it will - thanks so much for your time, we're really looking forward to the movie!

MB: Sure thing.

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