Jeff Russo Interview: ‘The Act,’ ‘Umbrella Academy,’ ‘Star Trek’ composer
“We needed to use a subtle hand with the score,” explains “The Act” composer Jeff Russo. “We needed it to be thematic, and yet not try to push too much on the weird and too much on the horrific aspect of the show and the story.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Russo above.
The Hulu limited series recounts the shocking true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King), whose mother, Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette), convinced her that she suffered from a variety of diseases and disabilities, earning support from several charities. When Gypsy discovered the truth she conspired with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn (Calum Worthy), to kill Dee Dee. She is currently in prison for the murder.
Russo wanted his score to “help move along … the narrative of this relationship between a mother and daughter, which was just really insane. So really, the idea was to be as subtle as we could,” while at the same time “bringing the craziness of this relationship to the forefront.”
The prolific composer is also on the Emmy ballot this season for his work on Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” which centers on a group of misfit superheroes who must come together after their adoptive father dies. One of the key goals for the music was to “tie together all of these really disparate personalities,” he says. Rather than focus on the action, he wanted to “tell the story emotionally and have it play against what you would normally hear in a superhero show.”
But wait, there’s more. Russo also discussed his work on CBS All Access’s sci-fi adventure “Star Trek: Discovery,” for which he’s also in Emmy contention. “Working on ‘Star Trek’ is like standing in the shadow of giants,” he reveals. “It’s hard to think about having to live up to those standards, so I have to try to … put it aside and do what I do. In that way, I feel like I own that.”
Russo previously won an Emmy for his work on the third season of “Fargo” in 2017 after earning nominations for the first two installments of the anthology series in 2014 and 2016. He’s currently working on “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley‘s feature directing debut, “Lucy in the Sky,” as well as the third season of Hawley’s FX superhero series “Legion.”