Victor Reyes Q&A: ‘The Night Manager’ composer
“There are times that you have the notion that you did a great job,” divulged composer Victor Reyes during our recent webcam chat (see above) about his work on “The Night Manager,” which netted him Emmy nominations for both Main Title Theme and Movie/Mini Score. His number among the 12 bids for AMC’s acclaimed adaptation of the John le Carre novel, which stars Tom Hiddleston as the night manager of a Cairo hotel who is recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of a dangerous arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). Hiddleston and Laurie were also cited for their work as were costar Olivia Coleman, director Susanne Bier and screenwriter David Farr.
“The Night Manager” marks the English-language TV debut for Reyes, a well-respected and prolific composer in his native Spain, where he has a slew of film and TV credits and five Goya nominations (including two for his first English-language film, “Buried”). He readily acknowledged the difficulty of composing what is essentially a six-hour feature.“When you are out of time, this is the best condition you could get: because the pressure is so hard, the ideas flow better.”
Coming up with the main title theme was difficult, Reyes admits, because “the plot of the novel of the show is very complicated.” He knew he needed something “powerful, short, recognizable, beautiful, masculine, a nice theme for using many times.” After much thought, he ended up writing what was essentially “an improvisation, something that comes from your heart and your brain in a second, and you don’t have to think about it: just let it flow.”
Receiving nominations for both Score and Main Title Theme is a rare feat; indeed, “The Night Manager” is the only program to do so this year. This has happened only eight times in the last decade, and in only five different years:
2015: Abel Korzeniowski snagged double bids for his work on “Penny Dreadful,” competing in both categories as did Jeff and Mychael Danna for “Tyrant.” They lost Main Title Theme to “Transparent” (Dustin O’Halloran) and Score to “House of Cards” (Jeff Beal).
2014: Alan Silvestri took home trophies for his Score and Main Title Theme for “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.”
2013: Beal scored two nominations for the first season of “House of Cards.” Although he went home empty handed that year, losing Main Title Theme to “Da Vinci’s Demons” (Bear McCreary) and Score to “Downton Abbey” (John Lunn), he took home the gold two years later for his work on season three.
2011: Two limited series — “Mildred Pierce” (Carter Burwell) and “Any Human Heart” (Dan Jones) — competed in both categories. Although both would lose Main Title Theme to “The Borgias” (Trevor Morris), Burwell prevailed in Score.
2006: Beal’s first double-nomination was for his work on “Rome” (in fact, he was a triple nominee that year counting his work on the TV movie “The Water is Wide”). He competed in both categories against the anthology series “Masters of Horror,” which won Main Title Theme for Ed Shearmur and was nominated in score for Richard Band, where it lost to “24” (Sean Callery).