“The Girl from Plainville” is based on the true story of Massachusetts teenager Michelle Carter and her involvement in convincing her boyfriend Conrad Roy to take his own life. Carter also happened to harbor an obsession with the Fox dramedy “Glee,” which is incorporated not only into the Hulu limited series but also influenced composer Leopold Ross‘s score, which he co-wrote with Nick Chuba. “It was basically the jumping-off point for us in terms of the spark of inspiration because it was such a unique aspect to the story,” says Ross in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “It was also interesting being people who make music which is very not ‘Glee’ to kind of see what we could do.” Watch the full video chat above.
That “Glee” influence shows in Carter’s theme, which is accented with harmonized female vocals. It was also important to Ross that the score not tread into sensationalizing, considering the true events on which the show is based. “We wanted to kind of tread carefully and lean more into the tragedy of it and lean more into the fantasy of it,” the composer explains, “because they were leading this kind of fantasy life in their text relationship.” The limited series stars Elle Fanning and Chloe Sevigny.
If Carter’s themes had to do with the fairytale fantasies she had created in her mind, Roy’s themes represent his growing feelings of being overwhelmed by life. For this, the composing duo went for more piano-based compositions. “We wanted to… underscore that feeling of things welling up and feeling like you can’t combat everything at the same time,” observes Ross. “It was always cascading and always ascending and getting higher and higher and higher.”
Ross admits he was hesitant to sign onto the project at first, noting the sense of responsibility in treating the story with respect. “This is an actual story where somebody actually died and somebody actually went to jail, so there’s a lot of true pain going on,” he notes. But he connected to the show’s sensitive approach to replicating the end-of-the-world feelings we all have as teenagers, even if he couldn’t necessarily relate to what the two characters were going through specifically. “It all kind of created this perfect storm of this incredibly layered story.”
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