Prolific and Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat worked with Wes Anderson on every one of the director’s films since 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – and Desplat even won his first Oscar for one of the author’s most beloved projects, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in 2014. What’s the key to their fruitful collaboration and where does it start on each project?
“It’s like when you play with a train and toy soldiers, we put together all the toys we’ll have and we decide, we’ll use those toys,” Desplat told Gold Derby during our “Meet the Experts” composers panel. “. “Then from there I start writing demos and we share that very quickly and very quickly we find a direction that feels right for the movie.”
In the case of “The French Dispatch,” Anderson’s last feature, the inspiration came from its setting – a fictional French town where a New York-style magazine publishes its latest issue.
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“It’s a film set in France, so I already have an advantage – I’m one step ahead of history because I’m French, I have a bit of French history behind me” , says Desplat. “What’s beautiful about this film is that it’s a real homage to Wes of French culture. We know that he lives part-time in Paris. But out of a true love of French culture: literature, music, cuisine, he loves French cuisine. The film shows it too.
In keeping with Anderson’s recent work, “The French Dispatch” has an all-star cast, including Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Adrian Brody, Timothée Chalametand Jeffrey Wright. For the anthology film, Desplat wrote the music for the introduction as well as the first part (essentially centered on an artist, performed by Benicio Del Toro and his muse, interpreted by Léa Seydoux) and the final section (where Wright plays a food critic caught up in a confrontation with the police).
“When I read the script, I always try to find what is behind the virtuality of the words, the virtuality of the camera movements, the production design and the costumes,” explains Desplat. “There’s humor, lots of humor, there’s a great craft, but the stories are very deep. But that depth is always a bit fuzzy and blurry. Because maybe he wants to protect his emotions He doesn’t show them too much. But all the subjects he shows in his films are very deep and moving. He shows it through poetry, a lot of poetry, and ‘Dispatch’ has a lot of it.
“The French Dispatch” is now available.
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