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How Alexandre Desplat recorded a full score during Covid for George Clooney film ‘The Midnight Sky’

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the world as we know it, and the film industry has been no different. With cinemas and theatres remaining closed amid strict social distancing measures, delayed productions and financial constraints, the industry has been forced to alter the way in which it functions.

Oscar-winning composer, Alexandre Desplat, has been openly discussing how he managed to score George Clooney’s Netflix sci-fi The Midnight Sky remotely, one of the finest examples of adapting a normal working routine in order to get the best results.

“It was horrible because I couldn’t go to London to record and conduct the orchestra,” he said while speaking to Crew Call Podcast. “So, Netflix moved mountains to make it possible. We had a great audio and video link between Abbey Road studio and the London Symphony orchestra,” Desplat added.

“George Clooney and Grant Heslov in Los Angeles at very early hours, and I was in Paris in my studio producing the recording without being able to conduct,” he continued, still sounding somewhat exasperated by the difficulties of the project. 

Desplat has collaborated with Clooney on six other projects. He described Clooney’s approach to the score, stating: “He has this extreme relationship with music; it’s in his DNA. He was raised with Rosemary Clooney and musicians around him. Music is in his blood.”

“When we listen to music together, I can feel his vibration, the way his face lights up or not,” the composer added.

Desplat’s score for the feature has since received a Golden Globe nomination and is hotly tipped to receive an Oscar nod too. 

Speaking of how the score was successfully crafted for The Midnight Sky, he added, “We avoided a sci-fi score with electronica: No choir; no cheesy, corny 1950s theremin. It had to be pure, organic and playing the emotions, the void of space, the spinning orbits and a tragic hope. All these things together and very early on, we discarded all these other options that would have taken us to a cliché.”

The movie is currently available on Netflix. You can catch a trailer for it below.

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