Johann Johansson Q&A: ‘The Theory of Everything’ composer
"I think the music needed to very much underscore the emotions of the story," said "The Theory of Everything" composer Johann Johannsson in our recent video chat. "But there are certainly moments that have more to do with [physicist Stephen Hawking's] work, where we try to express the poetry of the physics in a way, and the wonder and the beauty of how Hawking expresses his thoughts about the cosmos."
In addition to films like "Theory" and 2013's crime thriller "Prisoners," Johansson has composed music for theater, experimental video art projects, and his own albums, and though he often combines orchestral music with electronic elements, he explained that "'Theory of Everything' is probably my most acoustic project in a long time." He added that it was a "challenging project," and that "I was doing a lot of things in this score that I haven't really done before in musical terms. I stretched my boundaries in many ways."
He also told us how privileged he felt to win the approval of the film's subject, who has lived with motor neuron disease for most of his life and is now 72-years-old: "I have a feeling I know the man better after working on the film, and obviously Eddie Redmayne does such an amazing job of embodying the character that you feel like you know him," said Johannsson. "They wiped tears from his eyes when he saw the film … It's a great privilege to be allowed to work on a project like that about such amazing people."
Next, Johannsson re-teams with "Prisoners" director Denis Villeneuve on "Sicario," which will be released in 2015. Meanwhile, "The Theory of Everything" opens on November 7, and the soundtrack album releases on November 4.