Marcelo Zarvos (‘The Loudest Voice’ composer): Holding back on the score during Russell Crowe’s big scenes [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

One of the reasons that Marcelo Zarvos‘ score for “The Loudest Voice” is so subdued is the limited series’ main star, Russell Crowe. “You don’t necessarily want to replicate what’s on the screen; you want to enhance it,” Zarvos tells us in our recent webchat (watch the video above). He elaborates that about how serious he takes the task of helping to give an actor’s performance that extra punch. “I feel like that kind of emotional modulation is very important for me because if the music pushes the performance, you might ultimately transform what’s an incredible performance into melodrama.”

“The Loudest Voice” recounts how Republican media strategist Roger Ailes started the Fox News Channel and how he helped to change the face of cable television. At the same time, it shows Ailes’ paranoia and pattern of sexually harassing female employees that ultimately led to his downfall in 2016. Crowe collected a Golden Globe for playing Ailes back in January.

Zarvos’ score is very heavy with strings and percussion. With strings he relied on using the cello to demonstrate the power that Ailes wielded. “There’s something about that low, kind of baritone range and the gravitas of the instrument. We use that instrument very prominently on the main title and a lot of his music is very cello heavy,” he says. The percussion, which was heavily processed and electronic was used to convey the synthetic nature of the world of television. It was all essential in communicating the journey taken in the film. “Eventually, when the season unfolds, more and more it goes from a biopic drama towards psychological thriller and ultimately psychological horror. It felt to me like that low range of strings, cello and percussion were the right thing.”

The scenes that were the toughest for Zarvos to compose for were the scenes that involved Ailes’ sexual harassment of female workers at Fox News. “You really see the depths of his sadistic behavior towards her. Those were really tough because we couldn’t make it be sad because whenever we tried to deviate from him, the music felt like it wasn’t ringing true.” His solution to this was to veer into the realm of horror-like music. “I had done a little bit of psychological horror in my career but I feel like in some ways this is the strongest, most horror-like project I’ve been involved in because it was true and to find the right modulation of twisted sound of what this guy is doing,” he adds.

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