Comic-Con: 'Star Trek Beyond' Composer Reveals What J.J. Abrams Was "Adamant" He Keep in the Sequel

Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino shares how he convinced Paramount to allow the score to be performed live at the film's world premiere in San Diego.
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Audiences may have never seen Michael Giacchino, but they have definitely heard his work.

The Oscar-winning composer is responsible for the music in films like Jurassic World, The Incredibles, Zootopia, Tomorrowland and Inside Out. His next feature film is Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin's franchise film that sees Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew's return to their continued mission aboard the Enterprise.    

The world premiere of the third installment in Paramount's space-set series will be taking place at Comic-Con on Wednesday night, outdoors on the San Diego waterfront, on an IMAX screen, with a live accompaniment of the Giacchino's score.  

"It is the most crazy tightrope walk. It is the first time it is ever being played and the first time it has ever being seen," Giachinno tells The Hollywood Reporter, ahead of the splashy event. 

The scores for J.J. Abram-directed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness have been performed along with screening of the films at previous Comic-Cons, but this year marks the first time Giacchino's music will be performed along with the world premiere of a Star Trek movie.

"I have been pitching to do a premiere like this to several different studios for several different projects and it just never worked out," he says. "A month ago we suggested it to Paramount and we said, 'Look, we can do this. We have been doing this.'"

Paramount took them up on the offer and got the San Diego Symphony Orchestra on board, along with conductor Richard Kaufman.

Kaufman, who will be conducting about ninety musicians, was personally asked to head-up the orchestra by Giachhino. Of the score, the conductor said: "The drama, humor and action and the environment of outer space — Michael's music really brings all of it to life. He uses the orchestra in an amazing way and makes it like a character in the film."

Between the previous two Star Trek films, moviegoers have spent over four hours with the rebooted versions of Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Bones (Karl Urban), so Giachinno appreciated the new challenges that came with composing Beyond.

"What was great about this film is that it presented new opportunities to present new music, including new characters and different situations," he says. Adding, "And it is the first of the new films that doesn't head back to Earth for any reason."

Who was Giachinno's favorite new character to compose for? Sofia Boutella's mysterious alien, Jaylah.

In spite of the new faces and change of scenery, the composer says that it was important that some things remain the same.

"The one thing we want to keep consistent — and J.J. has always been very adamant about this — is that we keep the main theme. Even when Justin came in he goes, 'I definitely want that main theme.'"

Giacchino goes on to say he enjoys writing the music for those big action sequences but he really loves composing the small, personal moments. Like Kirk's birth in the first movie and his would-be death in the second. For this reason, his favorite character to compose for is the emotionally fraught Spock, played by Quinto.

Giacchino explains: "There is something really wonderful about that character — he is split between two worlds. Everyone one of us, in one way or another, is split between two worlds. We have our private inner selves and our outer selves." 

Star Trek Beyond hits theater nationwide July 22. As for what audience can expect to see in the movie, the composer says it will be a lot of what attracted fans to the original Star Trek TV show in the first place.

"Star Trek for me has always been about the core feeling that a team is much more functional and effective together," says Giacchino. "[Beyond] feels like an adult, grown-up, more action packed version of an episode from the original show."

 

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