Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Scoring David Fincher’s New 1940s-Set Film Using “Period Authentic” Instruments


It’s not surprising that director David Fincher has recruited Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to score his new film, Mank — after all, the duo have scored Fincher’s last three films, even winning an Oscar for their contribution to 2010’s The Social Network.

What is surprising, though, is that when scoring Mank, Reznor and Ross won’t be using any of the electronic elements for which they’re largely known. Mank, you see, is about Herman J. Mankiewicz, the legendary Hollywood screenwriter who wrote or co-wrote such classic films as Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, and The Pride of the Yankees. As such, the movie — which will star Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz — will be set in the 1940s. Which was, y’know. Before there were any “electronic elements” to music.

This being the case, Reznor tells Revolver

“We’re not gonna be using the modular synthesizer on that one. We think we’re gonna be period authentic, so it just creates a new set of challenges.”

Interesting! It won’t be the first time Reznor has stepped away from utilizing computers (e.g., 2002’s Still, a collection of stripped-down versions of NIN tunes), but it’s certainly unusual for him. A new set of challenges indeed!

Elsewhere in the same interview, Reznor makes some other interesting revelations about his career as a film composer. Specifically, that he and Ross are no longer working on the movie adaptation of the best selling novel Woman in the Window

“…Reznor revealed that the duo completed ‘an avant-garde score’ for the Joe Wright–directed movie ‘The Woman in the Window,’ starring Amy Adams and due to hit theaters in May 2020. But the film ‘underwent a transformation after some testing audiences,'” according to Reznor, and so the two decided to ‘bow out.’ ‘There’s no animosity on our end,’ he added. ‘It’s frustrating when you did that much work and it’s gone. And we were proud — and they were proud — of the movie that it was.'”

…and that they did NOT enjoy working on the Netflix hit Bird Box:

“‘When we got immersed in it, it felt like some people were phoning it in,’ Reznor said of the experience of working on the film. ‘And you’re stuck with a film editor who had real bad taste. That’s kind of our barricade to getting stuff in the film. And the final icing on the shit cake was we were on tour when they mixed it. And they mixed the music so low, you couldn’t hear it anyway. So it was like, that was a… That was a fucking waste of time. Then we thought, no one’s going to see this fucking movie. And, of course, it’s the hugest movie ever in Netflix.'”

Funny enough, Mank is also a Netflix production… although it’s hard to imagine Fincher will piss off Reznor and Ross the way the makers of Bird Box did.

Mank will be out later this year.

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