Composers Panel: Terence Blanchard, Bruno Coulais, Thomas Newman, Steven Price, Benjamin Wallfisch
It will probably not surprise you to learn that music was part of the lives of Gold Derby’s Meet the BTL Experts: Film Composer panelists — Terence Blanchard (“Da 5 Bloods”), Benjamin Wallfisch (“The Invisible Man”), Thomas Newman (“Let Them All Talk”), Steven Price (“Over the Moon”) and Bruno Coulais (“Wolfwalkers”) — from an early age. Click on each name above to view each person’s individual interview.
“I can’t really remember doing much else,” Price states. “I’ve got a theory that my development froze around 5 years old. There were instruments around the house, so it seemed a very natural thing for me to fiddle around with them and make things up. It took me a long time to piece together you could write something, but it always seemed like, what a fun thing to do with your life?”
A New Orleans native, Blanchard was always surrounded by music, including from his family, and was taking theory lessons when he was 12 from a neighbor who was giving him piano lessons. “She gave me theory and ear training when I was a kid. I didn’t understand it. I hated it every Saturday. I felt like the weird kid walking off to lessons while everybody else was on the street playing football or playing baseball or doing something else,” he says, adding that his football aspirations went out the window as his marching band was at a game.
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“I’ll never forget: We had to play at the Bayou Classic … and man, we were right at the entrance where the football team was coming out to the field and when I saw them big old dudes, I was like, ‘Nooooo. Let me go over here. Da-da-da-da. This horn looks really attractive to me right now,'” Blanchard shares.
Of course, Newman was born into a musical family, the legendary Newmans, who are the most nominated family in Oscar history. The 15-time nominee started playing piano and violin as a child, but never thought much of his talents until he was a bit older. “I remember someone my age was writing poetry and it never occurred to me, considering I’d been from this family, that someone my age could be creative, and it kind of got me started. And it kind of went from there,” Newman recalls. “But I don’t think I ever wanted to go into music because the Newman family was kind of a daunting family to be from. Randy Newman — this critical darling — and my dad Alfred and all that. So I kind of climbed up a wall by my fingernails and am slightly shocked that I made it to the top of the wall — not to the top.”
Watch the full panel to find out their writing processes and to see just how much Blanchard stan over Newman.