Mychael and Jeff Danna Q&A: ‘Tyrant’ composers
Brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna are two of the most prolific composers working today, with over 160 credits between them. Together, they have collaborated on such films as “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (2009), “Lakeview Terrace” (2008), and “The Boondock Saints” (1999), and are currently working on the FX series “Tyrant.”
When we brought up the subject of sibling rivalry in our recent webcam chat (watch below), they couldn’t help but chuckle before giving an eloquent response. “There’s always a hint, and sometimes it boils up into an uber-hint,” admits Mychael, “but I would say it’s something we use in a positive way 98% of the time." However, he concedes, "there are competitions, but we do it to try and out-do each other. We both admire each others work, and if one of us writes a good melody or finishes a cue really beautifully, the other one feels inspired to try and match that, and maybe beat it.”
“Tyrant” portrays an American family thrust into the inner-workings of an unstable Middle Eastern country. “We loved the idea that there was this canvas that we could write for that had the kind of scope that you don’t see in television most of the time,” explains Jeff.
“Speaking of brothers,” continues Mychael, “of course, the central characters in this drama are brothers who have their own interesting relationship, which kind of runs the gamut from love and admiration to hatred." As he observes, "It’s a very amped-up version of a brother relationship, and I think that’s one of the things that attracted Howard Gordon – one of the creators – to us: the idea that we would kind of get the intricacies of the relationship.”
The Dannas shared an Emmy nomination for Main Title Theme Music for “Camelot” (2011). Mychael won an Oscar in 2012 for his score to "Life of Pi" and an Emmy in 2013 for his score to the miniseries “World Without End” (2013).