Trent Reznor: An Oscar Nom Is Better Than a "Bullshit" Grammy

Trent Reznor Head Scratch - P 2011
Wesley Mann

Trent Reznor Head Scratch - P 2011

The Nine Inch Nails frontman, set to participate in a keynote Q&A at the Billboard/THR Film and TV Music Conference, also opens up about his working relationship with David Fincher

This story first appears in the Nov. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The score for Gone Girl is the third collaboration with director David Fincher for Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and English composer Atticus Ross. They began with scoring The Social Network in 2010 — for which they won an Oscar and a Golden Globe — then went directly to work on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. For Gone Girl, Reznor and Ross — who will participate in the conference's keynote Q&A on Nov. 5 — worked during a break in NIN's world tour, creating a score to fit Fincher's request: the sound of New Agey massage music gone horribly wrong.

Read more Watch the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Keynote Q&A at the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Conference

This is your third collaboration with Fincher. Has the process changed?

Social Network was educational, and it was inspiring. The way David puts a film together is not unlike how I make music. He'll have 30, 50, a hundred takes in his arsenal and the ability in the editing room to consider the tone and the momentum. … We had to redo the music probably 40 times. But the pacing kept getting tighter and more interesting. Suddenly the moments where you might have reached for a piece of popcorn, they're gone.

For Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you created music as the film was shot.

We thought, "What if we give you music the minute you start to edit stuff together?" It was a lot more work, which I don't mind, but I would be hesitant to go as far in that direction in the future. Gone Girl — there was a confidence that Fincher was exuding. When we saw the first cut of the film, it was like, "If I saw that in the theater, I'd leave thinking, 'That was f—in' great.' " It's a good place to be four months before you have to turn in the final cut.

You've made no secret of the fact that you're sour on the subject of the Grammys. But you felt different about the Oscars?

Having won a couple Grammys for stupid shit — best metal performance — it's hard to feel good about the integrity of that. If that's how much you're paying attention to what you're giving out, why should I think that really means anything? When the Oscar [nomination] came up, it felt very different. I can't tell if that's because I'm older or it felt like it's coming from a more sincere pedigree. … And particularly in a field we'd just gotten into, to see that, "Hey, you think [we] deserve this?" It felt nice.