Elliot Goldenthal interview: ‘The Glorias’ composer
“I composed for the highway,” explains Oscar-winning composer Elliot Goldenthal (“Frida”) about his score for “The Glorias,” which explores and celebrates the life of feminist icon Gloria Steinem. Watch the exclusive video interview with Goldenthal above.
The film was directed by Julie Taymor (also Goldenthal’s longtime collaborator and partner) and stars Oscar winners Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander, who play Steinem at different stages of her life as she rises to prominence as a leader of the women’s liberation movement. Co-writers Taymor and Sarah Ruhl based their screenplay on Steinem’s autobiography “My Life on the Road,” framing it as a road movie by weaving dramatic flashbacks of particular events in Steinem’s life with surreal scenes of four Glorias at different ages reminiscing together on a Greyhound bus.
“In that sense, I thought what is the quintessential Americana highway sound,” Goldenthal explains. “With a simple amplified guitar, playing simple lowly sustained chords, sustained melodies, with little accompaniment, that really set the quick flash of iconic America big sky country in my mind. It had a resonance to it and it also freed me up,” he says.
the “bus out of time” construct employed throughout the film to thematically anchor and connect formative moments in Steinem’s life were key to Goldenthal’s ability to coalesce the film’s numerous periods, locations and musical styles. “It’s timeless,” the composer muses. “The Greyhound bus has always been in America a subconscious symbol of freedom and it has an untethered quality,” he says. “The icon of the Greyhound bus was a very important anchor for the whole movie.”