Movie Songs Actors and Writers Helped Inspire – Billboard

Ahead of the April 25 Oscars, three movies have more in common than just competing for top honors. The sound of metal and minariwho both have six nominations, and One night in Miami…which has three, highlights how songwriters have become more collaborative in the filmmaking process, whether they work closely with actors on certain songs or even take on the role of screenwriter.

For Abraham Marder, working with his brother, director Darius Marder, on the The sound of metal The script – about heavy metal drummer Ruben (played by first-ever Best Muslim Actor nominee Riz Ahmed) – also guided how he composed the film’s score. As co-writer, Abraham identified how the film, which also won Best Original Screenplay, could better express the experience of the character of Ahmed going deaf by amplifying the sound design more than creating a traditional score that drew viewers into his world. “The film succeeds [by sitting] with Reuben in the most difficult times of calm and chaos,” says Abraham. “A score often seeks to smooth out and remove these rough edges from movies, but I thought that would have thwarted the purpose of the story.”

Although writer-directors like John Carpenter and Robert Rodriguez have also composed music for their films, it’s rare for a screenwriter to compose a film’s closing track – as Marder did with “Green,” which was shortlisted for Best Original Song. He started working on the minimal and downtempo track when The sound of metal was first conceived, but did not complete the lyrics until the final week of the film’s final sound mix, once he fully grasped the depth of Ruben’s experience.

From a musical point of view, it is essential to understand the characters of a film – which is why, at the suggestion of director Lee Isaac Chung, minari composer Emile Mosseri (who picked up a Best Original Score nomination) enlisted actress Yeri Han, who plays Monica in the film, to “Song of the Rain”. Mosseri had already written the track when Chung informed him of Han’s vocal skills. Working with her and Korean lyricist Stephanie Kong gave her the opportunity to add a deeper layer of emotion to the lullaby that helps bring closure to the tender immigrant story of Chung, who is also up for Best Picture. .

Likewise, songwriter Sam Ashworth thinks the nominee for Best Original Song “Speak Now” wouldn’t have become what it was meant to be without drawing on Leslie Odom Jr.’s experience portraying Sam Cooke in One night in Miami… Before writing the song on FaceTime, Ashworth, who previously worked with the Oscar-nominated actor on his 2019 album, Mr., had the verses and melody of the melody, but knew that the lyrics did not sound right. “The song needed a real sense of urgency, hence the ‘listen, listen, listen’ and ‘speak now,’ but Leslie came with a strong conviction for the direction of the verses,” says Ashworth. “Leslie’s perspective after playing Sam Cooke was imperative. [He] had to live this character to be able to come out of it and understand what it meant – and how it changed him.

This article originally appeared in the April 3, 2021 issue of Billboard.

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