The Red Violin was only the third film score you've written - you are primarily a concert composer. What drew you to this particular film?
"I had a disappointing experience on Revolution. It wasn't Hugh Hudson's fault; but neither the production nor the music came out the way I thought it would, and the film wasn't a success. I'd still had many offers, but I was just going to leave the film music scene and not come back until Peter Gelb from Sony came to me with the script for The Red Violin.
The last time we talked was just before "The Matrix" came out - and it turned out to be quite a hit. With the success of "The Matrix", do you think that has impacted your career thus far, two years later?
quote-leftOh yeah! Anything that has impact like that is going to change somebody's perception by others. "The Matrix" was such a surprise hit, but it's still hard to get projects because now I find myself competing with much higher properties. But I don't think I would have been considered for "Jurassic Park III" if I hadn't done "The Matrix".
How did you get involved with RKO 281?
I had just done Vendetta for HBO, which is about the worst mob lynching in American history. It's a really interesting story that takes place in New Orleans in the 1890's, and it didn't involve blacks, which surprised me. I had also worked with (RKO producer) Ridley Scott a lot on commercials - I have done virtually all of his big commercials over the past few years. Additionally, I do a lot of 1940s style big band stuff, so my name was coming from five different directions, and it just gelled. I came aboard at the script stage, since there was a lot of music that needed to be pre-recorded - the radio music, newsreel music, and of course the Bernard Herrmann stuff.
Why was this film [Moviola, a documentary on Barry, which was screened moments before] made, and why does it not deal with the diversity and versatility of your music?
There's a very simple answer. This was made by Sony. I'm with Epic Records, and I made an album called Moviola. That album was a compilation of all the romantic themes, or many of the romantic themes, that I've written. And when you listen to an album, I think it's nice to have a transcendent mood rather than a romantic one. So it had a similar tone throughout. It was made by Sony, then it was picked up by Channel 13 in America, and put on a series they had called Great Performances. So that is why it is of this nature. I've also done another album for Sony called Moviola II, which takes care of all the James Bond music, Zulu, all the action films that I've done.
" What's this business of being a writer?
It's just putting one word after another.
Advise to a young Richard Roundtree
" Whatever you do in this business, It's much easier than lifting heavy things.
" All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.
" Do, or do not. - There is no 'try'..
" Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?
" The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own.
" I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
" The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films.
" Seeing a murder on television, can help work off one's antagonisms.
And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some!
" Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by favoring to attempt.
" Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.
Sage Advise to a Young Oregonian, Barbara Niven
" If you want to make it in show business, get the hell out of Oregon!
" The difference between sex and love is that sex relieves tension and love causes it.
" The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter,
but, that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.…
To a young Eugene Roach on the subject of acting
" Don't ever let 'em catch you at it.
" I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.
" You don't write because you want to say something; you write because you've got something to say.
" I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book.
" Life ain't no dress rehearsal.
" Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
" Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
From: "Tuesday's with Morrie"
" We must learn to love one another or die.... We must!
" Kiss and make up...
but too much makeup has ruined many a kiss.
" Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.
" It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
" I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying.
" The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
" Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
" Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home.
" The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense
" No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
" When you're down and out, something always turns up -- and it's usually the noses of your friends.
" I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with 'Guess' on it.
I said, Thyroid problem?
" The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them!
" I'll give you a definite maybe.
" Why should people go out and pay to see bad films when they can stay at home and see bad television for nothing?
" No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen.
" The remarkable thing about television is that it permits several million people to laugh at the same joke and still feel lonely.
" The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud yourself.
" Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.
" I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.
While attending a Production Meeting
" This is no place to ask questions!!
" It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.
" The average American family hasn't time for television.
" The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.
" I'll moider da bum!
" The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.
" Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
" My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch.
" I can't wait to one day shoot in Detroit and say 'Let's have this double for Toronto'.
" From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.