These quotes first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2013, issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Writing songs is one thing, writing songs for film is quite another. THR asked five Oscar-eligible songwriters, penning tracks for the big-screen for the first time this year, to explain the genesis for the tracks featured in Django Unchained, Act of Valor, Rise of the Guardians, Katy Perry: Part of Me and Promised Land. Read on for their responses.
Katy Perry: “I wrote ‘Wide Awake’ in two days. It’s like a bookend to the film [Part of Me]. When I started this record cycle, it was all about cotton candy clouds and living the high, sweet life, and the bookend was falling from those same clouds.”
Jamie Foxx: “Rick Ross came on the Django set. I said, ‘Rick, I’m not a rapper, don’t grade me. But you should do a song, '100 Black Coffins.' Gimme an hour to write lyrics: ‘I need 100 black coffins for 100 bad men/100 black graves I can lay their ass in.’ ”
Joey Ryan: “Being called by Gus Van Sant to lend a musical through-line to Promised Land through ‘Snake Eyes’ flattered me and Kenneth Pattengale deeply, especially because he had done the same thing so beautifully before with Elliott Smith.”
Keith Urban: “ ‘For You’ comes out of a funeral scene [in Act of Valor], but they wanted it to be big and optimistic without being cheesy. I knew it would be a minor chord that morphed into a major chord to give a sense of triumphantness.”
Alexandre Desplat: “‘Still Dream’ [Rise of the Guardians] is my first song for an American movie. Very difficult. If it was easy, we’d only hear good songs. I can’t think of an end- title song in the last 20 years sung by an opera singer. Renee Fleming hits a high G.”