SAYS HE ALWAYS WANTS TO SCORE EVERY DE PALMA FILM, BUT DE PALMA FEELS HE IS BEST FOR SUSPENSE
Pino Donaggio took a break from working on the score for Brian De Palma's Domino this week to appear during the De Palma retrospective at the 35th annual Torino Film Festival, where the composer received the Grand Prize prior to a screening of Dressed To Kill. Film.it has some highlights from Donaggio's press conference there-- here's a rough Google-assisted translation:
The thirty-fifth Torino Film Festival invites Pino Donaggio as the representative of the retrospective dedicated to Brian De Palma. An author for whom Maestro Donaggio wrote the music for six of his films. We all know the titles - Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Raising Cain, and (the less famous) Passion - but listening to the composer's stories instantly provokes goosebumps: "Do you remember Carrie's ending? When Amy Irving walks past the grave and we see her hand jump off the ground accompanied by the music? I saw George Lucas jump during that scene, he jumped from the cinema chair. And he started laughing as if he wanted to say: 'You cheated me!'".
Another anecdote about Carrie is about Martin Scorsese: "We were in New York and in a cinema showing Carrie ... with the title in the luminous sign in big letters, and at the bottom, but much smaller, there was the title of the second film: Taxi Driver. Brian took the picture of that sign and sent it to Scorsese! I have wonderful memories of that period: Brian was very close to Spielberg, Scorsese and Coppola."
Maestro Donaggio still works with De Palma today. He is currently busy creating the music for his new thriller: Domino. What will we see on the screen?
The plot is simple: the films of Brian are, at least the ones that I do with him which are those full of suspense, action and sex. Domino opens with a death: they kill the companion of a policeman and then this protagonist goes around all over Europe to look for the perpetrators. Among other things, he also meets ISIS members and other terrorists while he continues to hunt for the guilty. There will be a great finale set during a Bullfight with people running up the stairs.
You named De Palma's friends: Scorsese, Spielberg and Coppola, that is, authors who almost always work with the same troupe. Are there any De Palma films that you did not participate in - I think about Scarface or The Untouchables - were you too busy at the time?
No. I wanted to do them all. But he had made up his mind that I was good at making that kind of music for that kind of suspense film. He said that he had worked with many but that he found me "the best of all on those films in particular". He thought I was not suitable for more dramatic films like The Untouchables, or Casualties Of War. The strange thing is that when this happens, he avoids me. He does not want me to do even the audition, because he feels uncomfortable telling me no. I remember in the eighties I was in New York: I was working on the music of The Fan ... he was in the same building I was in. I wanted to say hello. He told me he was busy. The truth is that he was starting another movie. And he could not tell me that I would not have done that movie. He is a bit like that. But when he comes to Venice we always see each other. (Smiles)
You have worked a lot also for Italian cinema. Is there a film you would have liked to participate in, which you did not do?
We should have done with Benigni and Troisi the following: Nothing Left To Do But Cry. It was scheduled but then it was different after the death of Troisi. It was a lot of fun to work on that first film: Benigni and Troisi came to me to ask me the theme. They left me free: "You and we listen to him" - they told me. And then in that movie we played with the music. There were musical gags like in the scene in which they open the door hoping to find themselves in the present and instead find the musicians of the Middle Ages.
Returning to the cinema of De Palma. One of the greatest fans of the director is Quentin Tarantino. Have you ever discussed with him about a potential project to be developed together?
Tarantino used the Blow Out theme in his Death Proof. Once I read an interview in which he said: "I love the music of Donaggio" ... yet he never called me (smiles). Another who loves my work is Benicio del Toro. He said: "When I prepare a film I listen to Donaggio's music" ... he too has never called me though. Maybe he does not have my number yet!