During our recent webcam chat (watch above), composer Jeff Beal readily admits that one of the challenges of scoring “Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise,” the latest entry in the Tom Selleck TV movie franchise, is, “the through-line musically that exists between all these movies.” Beal has scored all nine of the entries in this series about an alcoholic police chief solving murders in New England, and reaped his 16th Emmy nomination — albeit the first for one of the “Jesse Stone” titles — for his efforts. “Certainly one of the toughest choices we make every time we do a film is how much of the thematic material from previous films we will reprise,” he adds.
“There are some sort of standard pieces that always manage to crawl their way into the movies, but it’s also a world that you’re creating, and that’s the challenge.” He compares it to his eight season run on “Monk,” in that, “it’s like Columbo: it’s not so much about the crime or solving the mystery. It’s really about the character.” The music for “Jesse Stone,” therefore, “has always been about the storms of his inner psyche,” more than anything else.
The “Jesse Stone” films, Beal divulges, “have really been a very special part of Tom Selleck’s creative life, and also Robert Harmon, the director.” Even after nine films, “nobody’s phoning it in. There’s a delicacy to each one of these stories which always feels like we’re walking on eggshells. You’ve gotta do it just right.”
Of his 16 Emmy nominations, Beal has won four: Main Title Theme for “Monk” (2003), Movie/Mini Score for “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King” (2006) and “The Company” (2007), and Score for “House of Cards” (2015). While it’s great to win, Beal really loves awards season because it gives him a chance to catch up with his fellow composers. “We’re all sort of lone wolfs,” he says. “We don’t get to see each other very much.” The Creative Arts ceremony is a rare opportunity, “to celebrate what we all do.”
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