john williams bridge of spies

Steven Spielberg‘s latest film, recently named Bridge of Spies, won’t be scored by the director’s frequent collaborator, John Williams. The Cold War spy film starring Tom Hanks opens October 16 and was supposed to feature music by Williams. The composer had to drop out, however, when his “schedule was interrupted and he was unavailable to score the film due to a minor health issue, now corrected.”

Williams will be replaced by Thomas Newman, who obviously is no slouch. The twelve-time Oscar nominee (he’s never won!) has done the scores for The Shawshank Redemption, Finding Nemo, American Beauty and Skyfall.

Williams will, however, work with Spielberg on The BFG, which will start filming later this year.

Below, read more about the Thomas Newman/John Williams Bridge of Spies change and see a new image from the film. Read More »


Thomas Newman has worked with Pixar a couple times in the past on little films like Wall-E and Finding Nemo, and now he’s going to work with the animation giants once more. The film is The Good Dinosaur, which pixar has been developing for the past few years. The composer recently stated that The Good Dinosaur will be his next film, and we’ve got a few details below. Read More »

It’s been a long four years since Quantum of Solace, but having seen Skyfall I can attest that it’s more than worth the wait. Now, with the film’s October 26 UK release and November 9 US release just around the corner, Sony / Columbia’s marketing team is turning up the heat with a new trailer, a new video production diary, and a new IMAX poster.

The cast and crew, meanwhile, are doing the press rounds, and a couple of interesting tidbits have slipped out. Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson revealed in a recent interview that there were no plans to take 007 into the third dimension, while director Sam Mendes name-checked Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films as a direct inspiration for Skyfall. Read their comments and watch the new videos after the jump.

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There’s some big movie score news today. Earlier this afternoon Moby was announced as the choice to score The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, which has Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Melissa Leo and Til Schweiger lined up to star in a story about a guy (LaBeouf) who falls for a girl (Wood) in Europe, only to run afoul of her mobster boyfriend (Mikkelsen) even as his dead mother (Leo) occasionally offers him advice.

It’s Moby’s first job scoring an entire film, which seems fairly surprising given the degree to which film scores have had an impact on his own work. Then again, Moby isn’t someone whose career I’ve followed all that closely, so it’s possible that I’ve missed other flirtations with full scores. But this quirky, noirish story might be a good fit for him.

The news of Moby’s score is eclipsed, however, by Disney’s announcement that Jack White will score The Lone Ranger, which Gore Verbinski is directing with stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. Details on that are below. Read More »

Thomas Newman Scoring ‘Skyfall’ For Sam Mendes

In the struggle between franchise and friend, in this instance, the friend was triumphant. You see, though the last several James Bond movies have all had different directors, those directors all employed the musical services of composer David Arnold. In fact, Arnold has been the composer for every Bond movie since 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. However, with the now in production Skyfall, Oscar-winner Sam Mendes is at the helm and instead of going with the franchise favorite, he’s hired his frequent collaborator Thomas Newman, who scored American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead and Revolutionary Road for the director. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Of the 265 films eligible for Oscars at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in February, 97 of them have been deemed worthy to be nominated for Best Original Score. Thomas Newman (The Adjustment Bureau, The Debt, The Help, The Iron Lady) and Michael Giacchino (Cars 2, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Monte Carlo, Super 8) lead all eligible composers with four films this year while Alexandre Desplat (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Ides of March), Tyler Bates (Conan the Barbarian, The Darkest Hour, The Way), Mark Isham (The Conspirator, Dolphin Tale, Warrior) and Henry Jackman (Puss in Boots, Winnie the Pooh, X-Men First Class) all have three.

Other familiar names are on the list too such as John Williams (The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse), James Newton Howard (Green Lantern, Water for Elephants) and Danny Elfman (Real Steel, Restless) who along with Alberto Iglesias (The Skin I Live In, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy), Patrick Doyle (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Thor), John Powell (Happy Feet Two, Rio) and Brian Tyler (Battle: Los Angeles, Fast Five) each have two eligible films

Read the full list and some analysis after the jump. Read More »

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards are in progress, and the movie awards were front loaded.

The soundtrack for Fox Searchlight’s Juno won a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack, beating out American Gangster, August Rush, Mamma Mia and Sweeney Todd.

James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer took home a trophy for Best Score for The Dark Knight, beating out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Iron Man, There Will Be Blood and Wall-E.

And the Grammy for Best Motion Picture Song went to Thomas Newman and Peter Gabriel for “Down to Earth” from Pixar’s WALL-E, beating out Carrie Underwood’s Ever Ever After from Enchanted, John Mayer’s Say from The Bucket List, Amy Adams’ That’s How You Know from Enchanted and John C Reilly’s Walk Hard from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. As much as I loved WALL-E, I still think the Newman/Gabriel song is overrated, and would have liked to see Amy Adams of John C Reilly walk away with a Grammy, but alas, I don’t get to vote in the Grammys.


It’s no secret that the film I’m most anticipating in 2008 is Pixar’s WALL-E. I fell in love with the movie when I saw the first teaser trailer and have been closely following the film ever since.

Andrew Stanton, the Academy Award winning director of Finding Nemo, came across the bridge to San Francisco to premiere five video clips from WALL-E.

Partly inspired by Luxo Jr, the idea was created machine first, character second. Stanton said the idea was born at an A’s game (the audience booed), Stanton quickly added “rooting for the Red Soxs” (the audience cheered). He spent an entire inning playing with binoculars. Able to get a whole personality just from that simple design. The rest of his look came directly out of the functionality he was supposed to have.

“I wanted to believe that a robot is really there. I wanted to believe he is really a robot and not just a human in a robot shell.”

An audience member asked if Short Circuit partly inspired the design. It seemed like a question Stanton is already tired of hearing. He said that it might be possible that he was subconsciously inspired by Johnny 5 but probably not. The bionoculars served more to inspire WALL-E’s eyes. Stanton also admitted that he had seen Short Circuit only once, long ago.

Stanton talked about his formative years, and growing up in the golden age of sci-fi films. He really missed the feel of that genre of films. He said the biggest improvement to the technology behind this film involved the filming techniques. He wanted to capture the look and feel of the 70mm sci-fi films from his youth, and tech has attempted to emulate things like barrel distortion and lens flares, but not accurately. He says that some of it might not be noticeable to most.

Stanton set up the footage explaining that somewhere in the future, over commercialism has left earth covered in trash. The Human race took off on a space cruise, leaving robots to clean up the mess. All the robots broke, except one, and the humans mysteriously never returned.

The first video clip begins with WALL-E turning on after a full solar charge. He is on the trashed brown looking earth we have seen in the trailers. WALL-E gathers his BuyNLarge cooler with a few human artifacts. While leaving his truck, WALL-E almost runs over a roach he has befriended. He compounds some trash, examines a bra and collects some more human artifacts including a fire extinguisher which gives him a quick scare.

Stanton sets up the second clip by explaining that a probe droid named Eve is sent down. Wall-E “falls head over heels.” They finally meet and Walle shows Eve his home, which is decorated with some of the more interesting human artifacts he has collected. He shows her a sheet of bubble wrap and teaches her the fun of popping the bubbles. Eve pops all the bubbles in machine gun like speed. Wall-E shows Eve a light bulb, which she is able to light up. And Eve solves a rubix cube in record time. Wall-E pops a tape in and a musical comes on an old television. WALL-E begins dancing. Eve tries but shakes the whole truck, spins, throwing Wall-E into the wall.

“Their relationship gets more complicated. It’s a love story.”

In the third clip, WALL-E stows away on the outside of Eve’s spaceship. We see a sad shot of WALL-E’s roach friend looking sadly up as the ship rockets into space. WALL-E quickly discovers zero G and almost floats away from the ship, but grabs hold. They fly by the moon, which has a holographic billboard from years ago. Traveling by the sun, WALL-E recharges. And traveling by Saturn, he trues to grab some of the rock particles that make up the planet’s ring. The ship approaches the starliner, parked way out in space. Thomas Newman’s score sounds very reminiscent of John Williams’ Star Wars. Some of the footage was unfinished, but I really couldn’t tell. Andrew apologized to the audience about some “overblown or dark shots”.

In the fourth clip, WALL-E had made things worse for EVE, who is trying to usher WALL-E aboard a pod ship which would send him back to Earth. WALL-E keeps trying to impress Eve and doesn’t understand why she is trying to get rid of him. Suddenly a third robot shows up and delivers a boot with a plant growing out of it into the pod. I assume that this was probably an item that Eve had collected, but they were unaware it had life growing in it, so they were sending it away so it can’t contaminate the starliner. Again, this is just my speculation. It’s not made clear in the clip. Reguardless, WALL-E enters the pod to give the plant to Eve. The door seals and the pod rockets off with 20 seconds to self destruct. WALL-E is traying everything to stop the self destruction sequence, but to no avail. Cut to Eve’s POV where the podship explodes. Eve looks visibly sad, until then never having shown any sign of emotion. A few seonds later WALL-E comes flying towards Eve. He used his fire extinguisher to rocket away from the pod.

Someone asked during the question and answer session if WALL-E would be released in  Disney Digital 3D. Stanton nervously replied “Its hard to say, we’re not planning for 3D, but you never know. It can always be done in the post process.” I think WALL-E is the perfect movie for the 3D treatment. And from what I understand, minimal effort is required since the film is created in a 3D computer space.

Stanton also revealed that John Ratzenberger will be featured in WALL-E as a character named John.

“John Ratzenberger will always be in all of our films, don’t worry!”

Someone asked if the Pizza Planet Truck will make a cameo in the film. Stanton told the audience to pay attention during the first 20 minutes of the film.

The footage shown today was the most extensive and most impressive shown thus far. It has become immediately clear that the interaction between WALL-E and Eve is key to this story. Stanton insists that while this is a sci-fi film, that it’s a lvoe story at heart. I think that when America sees some of this interaction they will all come on board for the ride.