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Marvel’s First Woman Composer Got the Job After Hiring a 70-Piece Orchestra Just to Audition

"Captain Marvel" is making history for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in front of and behind the camera.

Pinar Toprak

Pinar Toprak

Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

Much has been written about how “Captain Marvel” breaks new ground in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by starring a female superhero in the lead role for the first time, but that’s hardly the only way the film breaks new ground for the long-running comic book franchise. As reported last June, “Captain Marvel” also makes history behind the camera with composer Pinar Toprak, who is now the first woman to ever score a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In order just to get noticed by Marvel, Toprak knew she had to do something a bit flashy to stand out.

“I made my intentions clear, and when the opportunity to demo came, I wanted to make sure that I made the best impression,” Toprak recently told Vulture. “I went and hired a 70-piece orchestra and did a big production of it so that they could see me in front of the orchestra conducting, and I did another video inside my studio where I talked about the character and the theme. I really wanted to put my best foot forward, and I’m very grateful it worked out.”

Toprak said scoring a major comic book movie has “been a dream ever since [she] could remember,” which is why she went big for her Marvel audition. The composer wanted Marvel executives to not just hear her music but also to see that she was more than capable of leading a giant orchestra. The decision paid off as Toprak was brought onto the project in a history-making decision for the MCU, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t face emotional roadblocks along the way.

“There’s so much weight on [the ‘Captain Marvel’] theme, and at first I was kind of psyching myself out,” Toprak said. “After two days of being in the studio and not being happy with anything I wrote, I went out for a walk, and I started humming a theme — and believe it or not, that’s still in my voice memo, and that is the ‘Captain Marvel’ theme.”

Prior to “Captain Marvel,” Toprak helped Danny Elfamn on the score to Zack Snyder’s “Justice League.” She also composed the music for the Pixar short film “Purl” and for features such as “The Angel” and “The Challenger.” “Captain Marvel” is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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