During our recent webcam chat (watch above), composer Fernando Velazquez describes his work on “A Monster Calls” as, “a very long process of losing a lot of music, and losing a lot of ideas that might have worked in the moment of the movie as curating a clip, but which wouldn’t work to create the whole story.” SPOILERS AHEAD! Directed by J.A. Bayona, this Focus Features release stars Lewis MacDougall as Conor, a boy who seeks the aid of a tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) to cope with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness. The monster tells the boy three stories that teach him valuable life lessons, and in the end, forces him to tell a truth about himself.
The film bounces back-and-forth between fantasy and reality, and Velazquez’s score had to do the same thing. “The reality in the movie doesn’t have much music,” he divulges, because, “it’s a tough reality. It’s hard.” On the other hand, “there is the fantasy, which has a lot of music. So it was a good combination of both elements, and we had to look for the balance for both sides.” The movie opens in limited release on December 23 and nationwide on January 6.
Velazquez recently received a Goya nomination for “A Monster Calls.” It was his fourth career bid, following citations for Bayona’s two previous films, “The Orphanage” (2007) and “The Impossible” (2012), and for his song “No te marches jamas” in “Spanish Affair” (2014). Could his first Oscar nomination be next?
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