A few weeks back I posted a wish list of individuals that I hoped would be writing the score for the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur. You see, the score for a movie is very important to me. It is part of the movie experience. I don’t just watch a movie, I experience a movie. A good score can make a good movie seem great and a bad score can make a good movie seem dull. My favorite scores transport me back to the movie when I hear it. Hans Zimmer is great at this. When I hear the Gladiator score I think of Gladiator, the Man of Steel score brings me back to the Man of Steel, The Blackhawk Down score brings me back to Blackhawk Down and the Pirates of the Caribbean score brings me back to Jack Sparrow. Hans Zimmer is not the only one that can help a movie in this way, there are many amazing scores out there that conjure up the film in our minds when we hear them. To me, that is what I ask of a movie score. I want a score for Ben-Hur that will have a specifically Ben-Hur flavor. I want a score that adds to the flavor of the film and one that I like to listen to in my car.
In my previous post on this subject I said that I heard one unreliable source that Junkie XL (Mad Max: Furry Road) had landed the job. I said that I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out this was the case. I was, however, more surprised then I thought I would be to find out that Junkie XL will NOT be scoring Ben-Hur. Instead, a composer by the name of Marco Beltrami will be scoring the film. Now, this has not been announced by the studio, however it has been listed on The Marco Beltrami Universe, a site that seems to be a fan site. IMDB has now also posted on Marco Beltrami’s IMDB page. This does seem to be more legitimate than before so, with this information, who is Marco Beltrami?
I listen to a lot of movie scores, but I do not know every composer and Marco Beltrami is not a name I am readily familiar with. I needed to look him up, and what I saw didn’t really disappoint me! Yeah, he wouldn’t have been my first choice, he didn’t make my wish list, but when I looked over the list of films that he has worked on I wanted to see a film on there that I could connect with a specific sound. As I read down the list I got to The Giver, BINGO! The music from The Giver is beautiful and when I hear it I think The Giver!
Beltrami began raising through the ranks by taking on some horror movies. He was a frequent collaborator with Wes Craven and has done all the Scream movies. He also began working with Guillermo del Toro with the film Mimic, del Toro continued to use him for Hell Boy, a comic book film that del Toro is well known for. Beltrami continued to take on higher profile projects such as I, Robot and Flight of the Phoenix. In 2007 he got his first of two Academy Award nominations for 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of a classic, just like Ben-Hur! The 3:10 to Yuma score is amazing and I will link it below with a few other selections from Beltrami.
The news of Beltrami composing Ben-Hur excites me for many reasons, first, he is a very capable composer, he is Academy Award Nominated. He has been hired to score remakes of classics before and he did so by putting out his best work to that point. He also scored The Hurt Locker which got him his second nomination. I feel 3:10 to Yuma marks a turning point in his career, he has put out his best work since then. So, think about it, you have a composer who has been in the game for many years now, he has had two Academy Award Nominations but no wins, the last time he was hired to do a remake of a classic movie he put out his best work… now he has been hired to do a remake of an even more beloved classic with a beloved score and he has been getting better and better. Do you think he will be hungry for an Academy Award win? Do you think he will give it his all on this project? This is very exciting news for the Ben-Hur project and I cannot wait to hear what Beltrami comes up with!
Below I will link a few videos, the first video I would encourage everyone to check out to see how serious this guy is about scoring films, it is very encouraging. the rest will be samples of my favorite scores that he has done.
This is from the Giver
And this is from what I consider his best scoe so far, 3:10 to Yuma