Read Shockya.com's exclusive interview with television and film composer Robert Duncan, who is currently working on the new season of the hit ABC police series ‘Castle,’ for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award for the show’s first season in 2009. Duncan also worked on the music for the new film ‘The Entitled,’ which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. The composer, who produces all of his music at Hollywood’s legendary Devonshire Studios, discusses with us, among other things, what the process of working on both ‘Castle’ and ‘The Entitled’ is like, and the similarities and differences of working on television and films.
Written by: Karen Benardello
ShockYa (SY): You composed the music for the new thriller ‘The Entitled,’ which follows a man, Paul Dynan, played by Kevin Zegers, who becomes so desperate for money to save his family that he kidnaps three young socialites and holds them for ransom. Given that the movie focuses on such a dark, morbid subject, what was the process of creating the music like?
Robert Duncan (RD): When writer/executive producer Bill Morrissey first sent me the script for ‘The Entitled,’ I was very excited, as the musical opportunities were immediately apparent and it was the type of artistic canvas I had been hoping to find for a while. I knew that director Aaron Woodley and producer Dave Valleau would let me dig into deeper darker musical territory than some of my other projects allow. The whole movie is bound together with underlying threads of tension, violence and contempt between all characters. With this atmosphere as a launching pad, I called upon a motley assortment of unusual instruments and sound sources to create textures that would draw us deeper into this uncomfortable world. From the Dewanatron Swarmatron, which gives you command of a bee-like swarm of analog synthesis via two ribbon controllers, to the Ned Steinberger Omnibass, an electric bass/cello hybrid, to the recording and sonic manipulation of a shotgun loading, I built a palette that hopefully elicits curiosity from the listener’s ear.
The tone of the film changes when Paul’s partners become trigger happy, and his victims reveal surprises of their own. When his perfect plan goes horribly wrong, Paul must fight to stay ahead in his own twisted game.
SY: Did such drastic, unexpected turn of events influence the way you composed the music for ‘The Entitled?’
RD: The music does get darker and darker as the characters unravel, but one interesting factor in this movie is how unified it is thematically. From the beginning, it states very clearly that you are watching a thriller and foreshadows the dark territory ahead. It leaves you guessing as to the specifics, but you know what type of world you are venturing into emotionally. I really enjoy working on projects that pose a confident cinematic identity in this way.
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