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‘Blackhat’ Composer Harry Gregson-Williams Says Michael Mann Scrapped Most Of His Score

'Blackhat' Composer Harry Gregson-Williams Says Michael Mann Scrapped Most Of His Score

“He doesn’t like too many twists and turns in the music’s structure. He really responds to things that evolve very, very slowly. He wants music that the images, the edits, the dialogue can float above without it corresponding too much,” “Heat” and “Public Enemies” composer Elliot Goldenthal told The Wall Street Journal in 2002 about working with Michael Mann. “With Michael, you have to be prepared to make a lot of changes. He changes his mind. He watches the movie everyday in total and makes adjustments so you have to know the job is making adjustments along the way as well.” In other words, Mann is just as exacting on the score as he is on every other part of the process in making a movie, but for his latest film “Blackhat,” that attitude has left at least one collaborator miffed.

Composer Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Equalizer,” “The Town“) took to Facebook yesterday and shared his experience about working on the hacker thriller. He reveals that upon attending the premiere of the film last week, it was only in watching the movie that he realized that most of the ninety minutes of score he contributed was not used, replaced with “quasi emotional (synth) string pieces that I’d never heard in my life before.” Ouch. Here’s his full statement Update: Gregson-Williams has removed his post from Facebook, but here’s a screenshot.

As for the “other composer” he’s referring to, could Gregson-Williams be talking about Academy Award winner Atticus Ross (“The Social Network,” “Gone Girl“)? He’s credited alongside Gregson-Williams on IMDB for the score, but it would appear most of his efforts weren’t utilized either. But is this really a surprise to Gregson-Williams? Here’s what he told Film Music Magazine back in September.

“I worked on it for the first six months of this year. I delivered my score in June, having had an interesting time on the project. It was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “The film is excellent and quite unique and also very topical. Hacking! We all know that he rarely uses a single composer on his scores and I hear that other people might be at work on the film, but whatever works for him, you know. It’s his way. For my part, I wrote 80 minutes of music for a film I liked a lot, and I am looking forward to seeing how much of that will be used in the final version. I have no idea, but I’m hopeful…”

Interestingly enough, Gregson-Williams’s score cut “Trapped” from the 2002 film “Phone Booth” is used and credited in the film. British producer and Bjork collaborator The Haxan Cloak says the movie also contains some of his original music (apparently he worked with Ross), but he is only credited with “additional programming.”

We’ll see how this story ultimately shakes out, and who ends up with the credit for crafting the music for the drag-and-drop coding movie. “Blackhat” opens this Friday, January 16th — check out two new featurettes for the film.

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