David Arnold (‘Good Omens’ composer) on the inspiration for his score: ‘What if Walt Disney was possessed by Satan?’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

In composing the score for “Good Omens,” David Arnold asked himself, “What would happen if Walt Disney was possessed by Satan?” That seemed appropriate for this long-awaited TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett‘s fantasy novel about an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) teaming up to prevent Armageddon. Watch our exclusive video interview with Arnold above.

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That initial concept came from a scene where Tennant tries to get the young Antichrist to fall asleep. “He does it by singing him very sweetly a song about [how] when the world is destroyed, he’ll be in charge of it and humanity will be wrought of blood and guts,” Arnold explains. It was “the opposite of what you would sing to a child in that situation,” but he wrote it as if it were “the sort of thing that Mary Poppins sang to the kids.”

From that tiny piece of music, Arnold conceived of an entire score built around those contradictions. “Whenever there is anything nice and sweet in this score,” he says, there is “something alongside it which is bad and dark, and twisted and perverse, and evil and funny and wicked, and vice versa.” This theme was “born of the two characters, even though they don’t have one theme each.” They share common music because, “to a greater extent, they share similar characteristics.”

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Arnold won an Emmy in 2014 for his work on “Sherlock” following previous bids for that series in 2011 and 2012. He also competed at the BAFTAs for that show and for his score for “Casino Royale” (2006). That James Bond action film also earned him a Grammy bid for penning the song “You Know My Name.” It was his second Grammy bid following his victory for the score from “Independence Day” (1996).

“Good Omens” premieres May 31 on Amazon Prime. The all-star cast also includes Jon Hamm, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, Brian Cox, Frances McDormand, Benedict Cumberbatch, Derek Jacobi and Nick Offerman. All six episodes were written by Gaiman and directed by Douglas Mackinnon (“Sherlock,” “Outlander,” “Doctor Who“).

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