“We were all worried if we could get the audience into the cinema,” confesses composer John Lunn on bringing “Downton Abbey” to the big screen. In our recent webchat he explains, “Normally they are used to watching it in the comfort of their own home on a Sunday night by the fireside. Would they actually get off their backside? And yet amazingly they did.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Lunn above.
Lunn describes the premiere for fans with cast and crew in London as “astonishing. It was the first time I saw it in a proper cinema. The audience cheered when the tune came in. I really wasn’t expecting it. And then it happened again at the New York premiere. It was an extraordinary feeling… people cheering your music in a film. I’ve never seen that before.”
The maestro composed the music for the television run of “Downton,” earning two Emmys for his work (2012, 2013). He is now hoping to repeat his winning success on the film awards circuit. The movie’s plot centers around the Crawley family receiving the news that their home will be hosting the King of England.
On transitioning to film he says, “We weren’t trying to remake the TV series. The story carries on. The biggest difference was I had a bigger budget, more time to write and more time to experiment. We could spend more time shaping the dynamics around the dialogue. We had double the string size. This time we had 70 strings. But to prepare I had to watch all six seasons over a three-month period; to remind myself how the music worked in the series. ”
The composer reveals that “the music is kind of the last thing that goes on, so I wait until they have locked the pictures. The music is a lot about the timing, taking you from one scene to another. It’s very carefully choreographed underneath the dialogue. I’m constantly looking at the screen, never turning the dialogue off. I try to respond to even an eyebrow, or a smile or a tear. It’s very particular.”
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