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Reinventing The Musical World Of The Terminator With Composer Lorne Balfe

Updated on July 19, 2015
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Introducing Your New Terminator Series Composer

For those film geeks and Terminator series fans, there has been new and high expectations that come with rebooting a great and original franchise that is a cultural icon. Brad Fiedel's memorable theme propelled us to the iconic figure that Arnold Schwarzenegger made famous in more ways than one and soon after, Academy Award nominees Marco Beltrami and Danny Elfman put their own musical stamp on the original franchise that was just as memorable if not better than that films' themselves.

Lorne Balfe is now the head musical honcho of this new reincarnation of the series which offers a different variation on what we already know of the original films we're so used to. Lorne is a great composer in his own right working right along side Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer for more than a decade, helping to crate some wonderful scores including the vastly underrated Frost/Nixon, Man Of Steel and of course, the new Batman trilogy. Lorne is a great composer in his own right as he had demonstrated with his brilliant score to the excellent documentary, Salinger which was Written and Directed by veteran screenwriter Shane Salerno. The features his deft and delicate musical touch that makes his music intriguing and also memorable. Filled with style and grace.

Lorne has immense talents and Terminator Genisys is definitely his breakout party featuring one of the years' more entertaining and engaging scores filled with everything we've come to expect from the Terminator films and looks like future is very strong from a musical standpoint as long as he continues his new found musical journey.

For this very special interview with Lorne, we discuss Terminator Genisys, we also revisit talking about Salinger and of course the most intriguing question of our interview, what's it like to work with Hans Zimmer. So please sit back, relax and enjoy our Q&A session that was filled with lots of laughs, intrigue and one abrupt phone drop out. Don't worry we both survived! Enjoy!

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The Interview

Hi Lorne, how are you and thank you very much for granting me the time to conduct this interview with you this afternoon. It really is great to finally meet you.

LB: Hi Danny, it's great to meet you as well.

Let's talk about your latest film, Terminator Genisys featuring the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and featuring newcomers Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, and Jason Clarke. How did you get involved with the film?

LB: I got involved the natural way. They liked my music!

Let's talk about the spotting process for the film. Was Director Alan Taylor specific about where he wanted music and where he didn't?

LB: Fantastic! It's always interesting working with a franchise picture and get invited to their party. Same with working with a director (Thor's Alan Taylor) and a studio who knows what they want.

After you viewed the film, did you pretty much have an idea of what kind of a score the film needed from your point of view?

LB: We talked about the approach and how the Terminator theme by Brad Fiedel would be used. Not only using that theme which is essential, but others I created including one for John Connor, one for Sarah and a Love theme for both Sarah and Kyle Reese. Actually, three different love themes to be exact.

What were the scoring sessions like and where did they take place?

LB: Stressful! (laughs) Successful and stressful! Blessed to work in London and the excellent musicians for five days. Panic then set in a bit hoping to get a great performance from them and they did.

How music did you end up recording for the film?

LB: Probably about an hour and twenty minutes. I wrote more but sometimes you can write music for a scene and the music can be eliminated and the effects be more prominent. Or the sequence is edited down to the point that the music is also. Sometimes the music can be used differently in the film than what I recorded or intended.

Will there be a soundtrack for the film?

LB: Yes from Paramount. Digitally it's already available on iTunes and Amazon. There will be a CD in a couple of weeks.

Is it difficult for you to put together a soundtrack of your music once the recording sessions are done?

LB: Always very difficult. The catch is I like to have an experience. Nothing that is in the film. I want to experience a journey personally. A soundtrack I strongly like listening too.

You also did the score for the film, "Salinger" for Director Shane Salerno. Please tell us about that project.

LB: I think it's one of the most amazing projects I've enjoyed. I had never heard of J.D. Salinger. When I first saw the film and fell in love with it. His life was remarkable. Working with Shane was fun and he's really a musical encylopedia, so he was really helpful in that regard.

You've been working under the touteledge of Oscar Winner Hans Zimmer. What is it like working under the guidance of a great composer such as him?

LB: Hans is wonderful and working with him for ten to eleven years, you forget and take it for granted. Always a pleasure.

What is your favorite film featuring one of your scores?

LB: That's not fair! (laughing) It's difficult to say. I'm very grateful for the work.

Who is your favorite director that you've worked with to date?

LB: I'm greedy (laughs) I love them all!

What composer has influenced your career?

LB: Hans.

Is there a film score that really has touched you personally?

LB: When I look back at all of them, I've loved and heard. I'm still a baby and think back to three years ago and where I was, thinking I'd do things better now then I did then. It's a learning curve and everything you do is a blessing.

What is your dream project?

LB: Terminator! I simply like that I'm now great to be apart of a franchise.

Please tell the readers about your future projects.

LB: I'm very excited about my next film, Captive starring Kate Mara and David Oleywo who was in Selma and gives a great performance. There's a few others that I can't talk about right now also.

Very special thanks go to Lorne Balfe for the great telephone conversation and the awesome responses. You're a class act! Also special thanks to Albert Tello of Costa Communications for his excellent support.

Lorne Balfe's Bio

"Inverness, Scotland. Lorne is known for composing the scores to Dreamworks
Animation’s, Penguins of Madagascar and Home.

Lorne composed the score for Manny, a documentary about the life of Manny Pacquiao,
eight-division world champion and ten-time world title winning boxer, which premiered at
SXSW. Lorne composed the score for Dreamworks Animation’s The Penguins of Madagascar,
which was released worldwide in the Fall of 2014, and most recently completed the score for
Dreamworks Animation’s Home starring Rihanna, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin which released March 2015. Lorne is currently working on the score for Terminator Genisys, due in theaters Summer 2015.

In addition to recognition earned for producing two of Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated
scores, Sherlock Holmes and Inception, Lorne has also received significant recognition for his
work in the United Kingdom. In 2009, Lorne was nominated for the Discovery of the Year
World Soundtrack Award for his score in the BAFTA award-winning film, Crying With
Laughter. The same year he was nominated for the prestigious Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland
Award.

While working in the UK, Lorne composed the scores for Ironclad, The Sweeney, Not
Another Happy Ending (starring Karen Gillan of Doctor Who) and Side by Side. His music is
featured in the BBC and Sundance Channel TV mini-series, Restless, starring Hayley Atwell and Rufus Sewell, for which Lorne received the 2013 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music
Composition.

In the US Lorne worked alongside director Scott Walker for Walker’s film The Frozen
Ground, starring John Cusack, Nicolas Cage and Vanessa Hudgens. In collaboration with
composer Rachel Portman, Lorne completed the music for 10x10′s feature documentary Girl
Rising, directed by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins that features narration by
Hollywood actresses Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, among others. After years of work with
director Shane Salerno, Lorne’s music in the highly secretive feature documentary, Salinger, was finally released in September 2013.

When he hasn’t been composing for film, Lorne has found additional footing in the video
game world. In 2011, Lorne composed alongside Jesper Kyd for the game, Assassin’s Creed:
Revelations and earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Music. A year later in 2012,
Lorne was already hard at work composing as a solo composer for Skylanders: Giants and
Assassin’s Creed III. His score for Assassin’s Creed III would earn Lorne his second BAFTA
nomination for Best Original Music, as well as the BSO Goldspirit Award for Best Score for a
Video Game. In late 2013 Skylanders: Swap Force as well as Beyond: Two Souls were released. Beyond: Two Souls features performances by Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe and received three BAFTA nominations including one for Best Original Music.

Lorne began his career in Hollywood providing additional music on several major motion
pictures including The Dark Knight, Inception, Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, Madagascar 3, The
Dark Knight Rises, and the 2009 Golden Globe nominated film, Frost/Nixon.
Lorne’s role as a score producer on 2008′s The Dark Knight earned Lorne a Grammy for
Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture. In 2009, Lorne was music producer and
composer of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 video game, and score producer for Guy
Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, which earned a 2010 Oscar nomination for Best Original Score.
Only a year later, Lorne produced the score for Christopher Nolan’s Inception, which also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score."

© 2015 DANNY GONZALEZ

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