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Interview Philip Glass


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Y'a une partie ou il parle de Candyman, visiblement sans embarras.


Earlier this year you also scored The Illusionist. Did you set out to write a "period" score at all?


It was supposed to take place in Vienna in the late 19th century. The film opens with us looking at the exterior of a theater, so I wrote music that you might have heard in the theater. It's rather subtle, so at least you gave me a chance to explain what I did - thank you! But after that, it was a romantic film about magic and romance, so I didn't worry too much about the time period after that.


You've also scored horror films, like Candyman, Secret Window, and Taking Lives - although that's not really a "horror film" per se...


Well, Taking Lives is pretty intense - it's about a serial murderer. It doesn't have that esoteric element that Candyman has, if you look in the mirror and say three times, "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman". You know, my god! How many millions of people actually tried it, do you think? Did you ever try that?


I didn't want to! After seeing the film, I refused - I wasn't going to!


It's scary as hell! I know it's still around because I'm still getting little checks from it every now and then.


So now you're doing another horror film, The Reaping...


Oh, it's more than that. It's about a fundamentalist religious sect in the countryside of the south, and you get to see the ten biblical plagues. Hilary Swank plays the part of an investigator that's trying to debunk the plagues, thinking everything can be explained, but over the course of it, she finds that she can't explain it. And at the end of it, literally all hell breaks loose! I've already scored it, and it's being mixed now.


What was your musical approach to this film?


Oh it was quite different. These kinds of films are more about action instead of character, if I can put it that way. With Notes on a Scandal, you're talking about interpersonal dynamics - they're very delicate, and profoundly dramatic and challenging and exhausting in a way. With The Reaping and Candyman, for that matter, you're talking about events which you can't really explain, and can't be explained by character - they have nothing to do with character! You're talking about music that works more with the surface of the action than with the depths of the character. It's a very different way of working, and I had to learn how to do it.


When I was doing more abstract theater pieces, there are similarities with working on those and horror films. Wouldn't it be funny to compare doing a Beckett play and doing a slasher film? But it's true! You're working with more abstract ideas with these kinds of films. I'm putting it the way I experience working on it, and I've found that horror movies are more difficult to do. They're more challenging for me, and I find them very interesting. So I enjoyed working on Taking Lives. I liked the director, and I liked the performances and it was a very interesting film to work on. I felt that was true of The Reaping too. It was a long process because, again, it was a film where the director (Stephen Hopkins) really began to understand the film as they were making it. There were whole sections re-shot, people re-cast, and things were being changed all along. It was a film that was a voyage of discovery, there's no question.

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