Brian Tyler (‘Crazy Rich Asians’ composer) on creating a timeless score that had ‘the feeling of a saga’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Composer Brian Tyler wanted his score for “Crazy Rich Asians” to be “at its core emotional,” while at the same time feeling like “music from an older era,” he tells Gold Derby. So rather than compose as if for a “modern romantic comedy, the approach was to do music that was out of time.” Thus, the resulting score sounded like something that could have been recorded “in 1940.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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Based on the bestselling book by Kevin Kwan, this Warner Bros. release stars Constance Wu as a Chinese-American woman who travels with her fiancee (Henry Golding) to Singapore to meet his insanely wealthy family. There she clashes with her would-be mother-in-law (Michelle Yeoh), who’s overly protective of her son. From the story, Tyler was struck by “the yearning of a person that’s on the outside looking in, the kind of rejected person that is proving themselves. That’s something that we can all relate to.” He expressed these themes using “classic strings, classic melodies” to give this character arc what it needed, “the feeling of a saga.”

He offset the emotional moments with original “big band jazz” compositions for the comedic scenes, “which is really unusual.” But even with all those disparate elements, director Jon M. Chu “wanted a score that held together thematically, everything from the romantic themes to the family themes that were done on string and orchestra,” to the “big, fun, raucous, wild themes.” The filmmaker “wanted those melodies to cross over,” which made for a “unique situation, something that I was very happy to be challenged with.”

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Tyler has yet to be nominated at the Oscars, but he previously received Emmy nominations for “Last Call” (Best Music Composition in 2002) and “Sleepy Hollow” (Best Main Title Theme Music in 2014). He also contended at the BAFTAs for his work on the video games “Far Cry 3” in 2013 and “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” in 2014. His extensive film credits also include original scores for “Frailty” (2002), “The Hunted” (2003), “Bug” (2006), “Iron Man 3” (2013), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) and “Fate of the Furious” (2017), among many others.

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