Alexandre Desplat Talks the "Weight" Of Composing His First Western Score For 'The Sisters Brothers'

"He wants me to find a new path, or different path, and the best way I found was to stop thinking and watching it [as] a western," Desplat said of 'The Sisters Brothers' director Jacques Audiard.

Famed composer and two-time Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat entered into uncharted territory with Jacques Audiard’s audacious Western The Sisters Brothers, making it his first Western score in his decades-long career.

The Sisters Brothers, based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, centers on two assassins, Eli and Charlie Sisters, played by John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix, trying to track down a gold prospector, played by Riz Ahmed.

Desplat explains to The Hollywood Reporter In Studio the “weight” he felt taking on his seventh film with Audiard, saying, “It’s horrible because you feel the weight of all these great scores that have been written in the past and there’s many types of Western scores already. Then you go, ‘Wow, I have to find something else,’ and you don’t know where to go. The road is completely open to anything.”

The composer describes how Audiard, his long-time friend and collaborator, encouraged him to “take chances” with the film’s score.

“He doesn’t want me to be safe and try to imitate or follow. He wants me to find a new path, or a different path, and the best way I found was to stop thinking and watching it [as] a Western and think, ‘Well, it’s two killers. Their brain is like the brain of a snake. They have no thoughts.’”

Desplat decided to create a “jazz blues combo” filled with piano, feathered piano, bass, drums and guitars to give the score a “freshness, and also a weirdness and eeriness.”

“There’s a string orchestra at some point to give some width and some weight and depth of field, but mostly it’s this obsessive repetitive pattern of these two guys who have only one thing in mind — killing — and slowly the music starts shifting to this more eerie sensation.”

Watch the video above to hear Desplat discuss his relationship with director Wes Anderson for Isle of Dogs, creating his first opera, his work on Operation Finale and more.