'Brave' Composer Patrick Doyle on Music for Toons and Working With Robert Altman

Patrick Doyle
Patrick Doyle
 Getty Images

This story first appeared in the June 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The Hollywood Reporter: Is there a difference in writing music for an animated feature versus a live-action film?

Patrick Doyle: Drama is drama. I worked on Brave the same way I would work on a live-action picture like Planet of the Apes -- it's the same symphony orchestra. With animation, there's more of, for want of a better expression, "Mickey Mousing," where you have to be very exact, but the same discipline and knowledge is required.

THR: You're known for blending an old-school orchestral approach with unexpected instruments and rhythms. Are there no rules to scoring? 

Doyle: As a composer, you have to be aware of what's contemporary. At the same time, your style may change as people's taste in music changes. You've got to have a fairly open mind. I'm very fortunate that I've had diverse opportunities to compose music for all these different types of films.

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THR: Is there a score that got away? 

Doyle: Never. I remember I turned down a picture once, for all the right reasons, and then I went on holiday. When I came back, I got a call out of the blue to do Gosford Park and got to work with a legend -- Robert Altman. I think you create your own fate.

THR: What have you learned about dealing with directors?

Doyle: The art of collaboration. There's enormous pressure on filmmakers, and I suppose my experience in theater has proved to be beneficial in that I was a musical director, composer and performed, so I would work very closely with the director on simply creating.

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