One-on-One With The Wolfman's Joe Johnston

By Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor
Source: Shock Till You Drop
Extract only
Rotten: Do you mind talking about the back and forth about the score? Elfman is back and I thought that worked out for the best.
Johnston: It does. Danny had to score a film that was half an hour longer [than what the film is now]. And he had to score it very early. It was last summer, I think. He said, "This has happened to me before, and I know it's going to happen now. You're going to re-cut the film and my score isn't going to work." We re-cut the film, we put his score in. And what happened is he had themes he had spaced out and it worked great in his cut. When we took out that half hour, his themes were closer together. So things get familiar and you go, "Wait, I just heard that." We previewed the film, we all recognized it didn't work. But there was a reaction from someone high up at NBC/Universal, because a new trailer had been cut with the electronic score, someone said, "Hey, let's do the whole film that way!" It was something I reacted to pretty violently. That's the wrong idea, guys. They said they were going to try it. I had been so worn down, I said, "Okay, let's try it." They hired a guy who is a talented composer in his own right. They assigned him something that was almost impossible to do. When we put his music to the picture, even though the music was working, it was so out of context with what you were seeing. You can do anything in a trailer, put any music in and the audience doesn't see that trailer and go to the movie expecting that music. So the studio, to their credit, after they heard the new score, recognized Danny had a better score that matched the film. We then went back in to record about 15 minutes of new material.