Interview with Danny Elfman
Elfman_100302_350w: When one hears the name Danny Elfman,
it's difficult not to immediately hear the haunting or carnivalesque music from
one of his countless memorable film scores. He's worked with Tim Burton on roughly
a dozen films, and now he adds his unique touch to the music of Alice in Wonderland.
Danny Elfman had a brief chat with Buzzine to talk about his scoring process
and his early introduction to the world of Alice in Wonderland.
Rene S. Garcia, Jr.: In the past, you've said that it
doesn't matter if you come in with stuff before you get there with Tim (Burton),
because it's never going to wind up in the movie it's stuff that happens
as you go along.
Danny Elfman: I learned that way back with Beetle Juice,
where I got a head-start on the movie and I thought I'd read the script and
write a bunch of music and get a head-start, and not one note of it made it
into the movie, of course. I'd rather take the opposite point of view and try
to come in and see the director's especially Tim's first rough-cut
that he shows me with absolutely no thoughts at all of what to expect. It serves
me much better. On this film in particular, (Tim) told me a year ago that this
was going to be the craziest roller-coaster ride we've ever taken in together
in 12 or 13 films I'm not sure and when I first saw it
at first I was extremely offended because I thought the whole film was just
about the questionable and dubious nature of redheads. I had to work through
that, and once I became okay with that, there was a point halfway through where
he had me visit the set, because I've done that in all the films I've worked
with him spend a little time and see what it was like on the set. I actually
wrote the Batman theme walking through Gotham City with Tim and seeing just
a little bit of footage, so it was enough to get a real flavor and feel. This
was the first time ever I visited a set and in the distance was Mia (Wasikowska,
who plays Alice) on wires with green-screen. I said, Alright. And
he warns us, There's nothing about what you're going to see that's going
to help you. He was absolutely right. So I decided to wait
it was just exactly as Tim said. It was a wild roller-coaster ride with everything
coming together at the very end, so knowing that, having ridden a lot of roller-coasters
with Tim, I just felt I would roll with it, and that's the best way to go with
his film just try a lot of different things, experiment and be as loose
as possible, and just go with it, and it was an intense ride, as he had predicted,
but a great one, as the best roller-coasters are.
Elfman2_100302_350wRG: When did Alice in Wonderland
enter your life, and how did the book influence you?
DE: The book had a profound influence on me, but in a
much different way than most people because I was only about three or four and
we had it in the bookshelf. There was a picture on the book of Alice with her
neck distended very long. I'm not sure if it was on the spine or on the
front of the book, but it scared me. In frightening me, I became infatuated
with the picture and actually began what became a lifelong obsession and infatuation
with physical anomalies. I don't have my shrunken head today, but I've had many
nightmares about this girl with this incredibly long neck. It sort of became
part of my subconscious from an incredibly early age. Of course, I read (Alice
in Wonderland) later, but the effect was there from very early on.