Mica Levi Q&A: ‘Jackie’ composer
During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Jackie” composer Mica Levi reveals she didn’t see director Pablo Larrain‘s film before she started writing music for it, but instead drew inspiration from, “Jackie Kennedy, the script, some conversations with Pablo, and the era that it’s based in.” This Fox Searchlight release out nationwide in December chronicles the life of former First Lady Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) in the days following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. “I tried to write music that I thought was to her taste,” she adds, “and appropriate for her.”
Levi, better known as Micachu from the band Good Sad Happy Bad, found there wasn’t that much overt action in the film to highlight musically. “There are dramatic moments,” she explains, “but there’s a lot of protocol in the official scenario that she is grieving in. Although some of it is on a grand scale, it’s not full of action in a way that some films are.” The music, therefore, highlights Jackie’s emotional and mental state, and Levi reminds us that, “she is quite high as well,” on pills and alcohol. “So maybe there’s this sort of dreamlike quality,” in the score.
“Jackie” is only Levi’s second film score. Her first, for Jonathan Glazer‘s “Under the Skin” (2013), snagged her a BAFTA nomination. Although she admits to being nervous going in, her fears were quickly assuaged by Larrain. “All I had to do was write music, really,” she divulges. “It wasn’t too painful, and he was really encouraging. He’s a big music fan, and he was pretty generous with the flexibility that he allowed me to have, especially as there was a lot of weight on him for the pressure of the project.”