'First Man' Composer Justin Hurwitz on Conducting His First Score

Hurwitz has composed previous Chazelle films, such as 'La La Land,' 'Whiplash' and 'Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench.'

Academy Award-winning composer Justin Hurwitz teamed up with director Damien Chazelle once again to create the music behind the Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man. Hurwitz has worked with the director on his previous films, including La La Land, Whiplash, and Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Hurwitz explained the overall themes he brought to the film, saying, "Damien wanted to explore grief, loss and pain."

"He wanted to also use those themes in different ways throughout the movie, so we could use the same themes that score some of his very painful moments early on to also score those incredibly triumphant moments."

He continued: "The launch and getting to the moon, landing on the moon and all of that, but he wanted even those moments of the movie to be underpinned with a little bit of the earlier losses because a lot of the story is about Neil and Janet and their family overcoming a lot of difficulties, a lot of losses of, first, their daughter, and then some very close friends and colleagues of theirs, so those were the main feelings Damien wanted to get at."

Hurwitz also discussed how the film was his first time conducting a film score and what he hopes to bring to his future projects.

"This was the first time I conducted a score, so that was really fun, but, also, I’m in a very steep part of the learning curve for that," he told THR. "I hope that every score I do, there can be some kind of real new ingredient or new thing to learn or try out. It won’t necessarily be a new instrument every time, but maybe it’ll be a different harmonic language. Whatever it is, I’d like to keep really trying something very different each time."

Watch the video above to hear Hurwitz also discuss what he learned about Neil Armstrong, how he incorporated the theremin into the score and more.