Commentary: Scoring 'Sex' is no big deal for Mr. Romantic

Aaron Zigman took his cues from Mr. Big

For Aaron Zigman, the road to landing the job of writing the "Sex and the City" score started with a favor for a friend.

New Line Cinema music executive Erin Scully was laying down the temporary score to the film as it went through postproduction. She called her pal Zigman and asked whether he could pull together for the temp track some of the light romantic comedy themes he's written -- you know, a little of this, a little of that, just to give the movie some musical context.

"I got about 10 to 12 cues and got them to her office at around 7 p.m. at night," Zigman says. "I had no illusions of grandeur that I was going to get the job."

Well, he did.

"Of all the reels they listened to, they came down to the same one -- which was mine," he says. "It was the right direction for their film sensibilities."

And now, after scoring about 30 films in his career, Zigman has pretty much become the go-to guy for scoring romantic movies in any number of guises.

Want teen romance? He did "Step Up" and "Step Up 2: The Streets." Want urban? He did Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" Want chick flick? He did "The Jane Austen Book Club." Want an excuse for Jessica Alba to look cute and act goofy? He did "Good Luck Chuck." Want classic tearjerker? He did "The Notebook."

For "Sex," Zigman "wrote a score that I felt was in that romantic, emotional grown-up vein, but with a lot of humor on the comedy side to balance it," he says.

After eight weeks of composing, the score was recorded in just a few days with a 116-person orchestra on the Fox lot at the Newman Scoring Stage.

(No, I haven't seen the whole movie. No, don't e-mail me for spoilers on the scenes I have seen. Yes, I've taken a blood oath not to reveal anything. Geez, the movie comes out Friday, have a Cosmo and relax.)

Over the years, Zigman has developed a rapport with his orchestra members. He says that for him, the process of writing the music becomes all the more fulfilling when he knows his trusted team will perform it.

"I know so many people in the orchestra, and sometimes I visually picture them playing while I'm writing," he says. "I actually see faces in the crowd that I know and have been friends of mine for 20 years. In conducting, we're removed with the baton -- but it's not separate. It has to be a joint effort."

And with "Sex," Zigman and his team are working on a romance that is weighted with a lot of expectations and a rabid fan base that will nitpick if they sense something is out of sorts.

It's no pressure for Zigman, however. To score the movie, he put himself in the mind-set of -- don't hiss, ladies -- Mr. Big.

"I used to date a girl who liked the show a lot. I would watch with her a few times ... and it would just hit me the wrong way and I had to walk out of the room," he says, laughing.

"But they made a film that was really frickin' honest. Chris Noth is so good -- there is one scene in his performance where he railed me emotionally and made me start to cry. I knew that I would be able to do something with the movie."
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