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Jon Brion Tried To Score 'The Fighter' For David O. Russell, But The Score Was Scrapped

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by Edward Davis
November 30, 2012 4:31 PM
7 Comments
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At the beginning of the aughts, Jon Brion was the man for film soundtracks, especially the quirky and offbeat kind. He wrote the score for Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" (and had done the same for "Magnolia"), as well as Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and David O. Russell's "I Heart Huckabees,” and all three of these scores are considered contemporary indie classics.

He’s done notable work since, but some of it in comedies where the music isn’t so much in the foreground (i.e. did you know he also scored Adam McKay’s “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys”?). He’s also worked with Judd Apatow (“Funny People,” “This Is 40”) and Charlie Kaufman (“Synecdoche, New York”), and suffice to say, he’s got a great CV.

But evidently there was almost another repeat collaboration with David O. Russell. According to the recent THR directors' roundtable interviews, the filmmaker asked Brion to write a score for the film, but it didn’t quite work with the film’s tone -- something the composer himself said.

Russell, pretty much explains it all succinctly in this quote. “That happened to me with Jon Brion, who's a wonderful composer,” he said after Ang Lee spoke about the difficulties of replacing a composer midway through the film. “He composed the music for one of my earlier films, and then on ‘The Fighter’ he came to see an early cut, and he said, 'You don't need a score.' I said, 'Well, we need a very light touch,' knowing that he's a man who writes strong melodies. As friends, we wanted to work together. We then proceeded into this bad idea of him writing melodies that were very strong that did not belong in the movie. And I did not use it, which is heartbreaking.”

Bummer indeed. But Brion was on the money. There would’ve been no room in that movie for a traditional score. Maybe for Russell’s next project, the untitled FBI Abscam Film, formerly known as “American Bullshit” that stars Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner? Something tells us the energy of Russell’s newer films don’t really require a score (“Silver Linings Playbook” does employ a brief Danny Elfman score, but it's mostly made up for source music), but here’s hoping they find an excuse to work together again some day.

Brion’s musical work will next be seen in the soundtrack to “This Is 40,” including producing the new track written for the film by Fiona Apple (which you can listen to here).

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7 Comments

  • Mateus | December 5, 2012 7:41 PMReply

    This years' "ParaNorman" uses a bright and strong score by Brion.

  • Noah Pohl | December 1, 2012 5:06 PMReply

    Brion's score to Huckabees might be his very best work, IMHO. Listen to "Omni" and you'll see why.

    Eternal Sunshine is right up there with being his most moving score - but there's something wild and fun and still very moving about Huckabees.

  • Charles | December 1, 2012 3:49 AMReply

    Danny Elfman scored Silver Linings Playbook. So, yeah, the movie does in fact employ a score.

  • Alonso | November 30, 2012 7:59 PMReply

    Brion's score for Step Brothers is really under appreciated. His jam session on the special features is quite good too. I wish they would release that.

  • Alan | November 30, 2012 7:06 PMReply

    "He wrote the score for Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" (and had done the same for "Magnolia"), as well as Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and David O. Russell's "I Heart Huckabees,” and all three of these scores are considered classics." I am sorry, but in what universe is "I Heart Huckabees” widely considered to be a classic? I thought it was initially considered interesting/an interesting failure, then re-evaluated as the 'everyone lost their shit' production as a result of the leak video footage of O. Russell, umm, "collaborating" with his actors.

  • yer | November 30, 2012 8:39 PM

    WTF? None of those scores are considered "classics".

  • Ken | November 30, 2012 7:42 PM

    Can you not even read what you quoted? They were saying the SCORES were classics, not the movies themselves. That said, while I do think the scores to those scores are memorable, I don't know of anyone or any publication that has since considered them to be classics. I think a better, more modest word could've been used here.

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