Zimmer suggests his NTTD co-composer did a lot of work

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer, the lead composer on No Time to Die, suggests in a new interview with Variety that his assistant composer did a fair amount of work on the 25th James Bond film.

Zimmer told Variety of how he was approached by producer Barbara Broccoli about scoring the movie.

“And I asked her if it was okay that Steve Mazzaro, who is one of the most fabulous composers I know, could do it with me, because there was very little time,” Zimmer said. “And of course she said yes. Steve should really be the top name on the Bond film. I hope we’ve done it justice.” (emphasis added).

Mazzaro scored The Rhythm Section, the non-Bond spy film that Eon produced, which was released by Paramount in January. Zimmer was the producer of that movie’s soundtrack. Zimmer and Mazzaro shared the music title card, with Zimmer getting top billing.

Mazzaro also is one of the composers affiliated with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

In the Variety interview, Zimmer also discussed recruiting guitarist Johnny Marr to perform on No Time to Die.

Zimmer replaced Dan Romer as the composer for No Time to Die. Zimmer’s name is on No Time to Die posters that include credits but Mazzaro’s is not.

The article examines other movie projects Zimmer is working on. You can view it by CLICKING HERE.

1978: 007 wins 000 Oscars

James Bond has an odd history with the Oscars. The film series got two Oscar nods early in its history, then went decades with no wins.

The 1978 Oscars show, for movies made in 1977, was somewhat frustrating from a Bond fan perspective. The Spy Who Loved Me had been nominated for three awards: art direction, song and score. It walked away with….zero.

A big problem (from the Bond perspective) was that Spy was up against Star Wars in two categories. Star Wars was new and fresh and had wowed theatergoers the previous year.

Specifically, Spy’s Ken Adam-designed sets would be compared with the futuristic Star Wars sets. Another science fiction movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was also nominated.

Score one for Star Wars. One of the winners was production designer John Barry (1935-1979), not to be confused with composer John Barry (Prendergast).

Marvin Hamlisch’s Spy score was up against the Star Wars score by John Williams. However, Williams was nominated twice — he also got a nomination for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Maybe, just maybe, Williams would split the vote and Hamlisch could sneak in.

Nope. Williams got it for Star Wars. One of the presenters was Henry Mancini. Early in his career, Williams was one of the musicians who recorded Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme in 1958.

The song category was probably Spy’s best hope. Nobody Does It Better had been very popular. Maybe it could salvage the night for 007. It was not to be. It lost to You Light Up My Life.

This wasn’t the first time a Bond song lost. Live And Let Die had done failed to win four years earlier,  with the prize going to The Way We Were (with Hamlisch doing the music.) And classic songs by John Barry (Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever hadn’t even been nominated.

No surprise: NTTD soundtrack delayed

No Time to Die character poster

Hardly a surprise but the Decca Records website has been updated to show that the No Time to Die soundtrack has been delayed to Nov. 13.

On March 4, the release date of the 25th James Bond film was pushed back to Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 25 in the United States.

Originally, the soundtrack was to have come out around the same time as the movie’s original release date of early April. The world premiere had been set for March 31.

Initially, the soundtrack listing didn’t change its date, leading some fans to hope (against hope, as it turns out) that would remain the case.

No such luck. The score for the film was composed by Hans Zimmer, with additional music by Steve Mazzaro, one of the 64 composers (the total went up by one recently) involved with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

h/t @antovolk

Q the Music raising funds to make up for canceled shows

Q the Music logo

Q the Music, a British group that performs James Bond songs, is conducting a fund-raising effort to make up for canceled shows.

The group, led by Warren Ringham, has been affected by the coronavirus as public events get canceled in an effort to contain the virus.

Here’s an explanation.

Today, I (Warren Ringham) am asking for your help for the musicians of Q The Music. We have had all our work, contracts, theatre shows, ticket sales, everything cancelled for 3 months (minimum). For the musicians, crew & comperes of the show, this amounts to £30,000 of lost earnings for them collectively.

As it stands today, the government have again failed to offer any assistance to either a business like mine (save for loans on top of loans I already have), or more importantly right now for the self-employed musicians in the band.

Please note, I know, and we know, we are not alone in this plight. Many many people are experiencing these problems around the country and around the world…but I have to campaign on our behalf as I know so many of you have got enjoyment from seeing us over the years.

(snip)

Some important notes:

*musicians aren’t “employees” of the show, they are “sub-contracted”. There is no statutory sick pay for the band members.

*theatres cancel the shows, they don’t pay us anything.

*if you haven’t had your tickets refunded yet, by donating them to the theatre (also a worthy cause), that money does NOT come through to the band.

We desperately need your help, please….

To view an entry at the Just Giving website, CLICK HERE.

As this is being written, 4,381 British pounds (of a 10,000-pound target) have been raised.

Coronavirus cancellations/postponements pile up

No Time to Die poster

It turns out No Time to Die was ahead of the curve on this one.

A number of movies, television shows, sports events, and concerts have been among the events affected by the spread of the coronavirus.

No Time to Die’s delay from April to November was announced March 4.

Since then, the list of affected events has piled up. Just a sampling:

Movie release date changes: Besides No Time to Die, My Spy, Peter Rabbit 2, A Quiet Place Part II, F9: The Fast Saga (ninth installment of The Fast and the Furious series), and Mulan have been delayed. CLICK HERE for a more complete list.

Sports events: The NCAA basketball tournament (both men’s and women’s divisions), a number of athletic conference basketball tournaments, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the Australian Grand Prix, and The Master’s golf tournament have been canceled or postponed.

Concerts: A number of concerts, including part of Billie Eilish’s current tour, have been called off. Eilish performs the No Time to Die title song and she is a hot property after winning a lot of Grammy awards.

Television shows: Late-night shows in the U.S. are going on a hiatus. There have been announcements of other delays amid coronavirus concerns.

A look at Skyfall in Concert

The orchestra is applauded by a Toronto audience after Skyfall in Concert has concluded. The Spy Command photo

TORONTO — This weekend, there were two performances in Toronto of Skyfall in Concert, where an orchestra performed the score of the 23rd James movie live, synched up to a showing of the film.

The show was performed Feb. 21 and 22 at Meridian Hall in downtown Toronto.

The Thomas Newman score sounded subtly different in places with the live performance compared with the film’s original soundtrack.

There were also some changes to highlight the score. Some sound effects were dialed back a bit.

An example: In the movie, there were loud crashing sound effects when Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) loses the side mirrors of the vehicle she’s driving in the pre-titles sequence. With Skyfall in Concert, you still heard the effects but they weren’t as overpowering. Also, the film had subtitles for the dialogue.

The orchestra was stationed below the screen where the movie was shown. As a result, audience members could observe the musicians playing as the film played.

As Skyfall drew to an end, the orchestra played a rousing rendition of The James Bond Theme after the “James Bond Will Return” title card. This took place without the end title crawl. That began after the orchestra finished its performance of the Bond theme.

A number of James Bond fan groups, including James Bond Canada, The James Bond Complex, The Bond Experience, Being James Bond and many others were present for the Feb. 22 performance. The Bond fans had pre- and post-show gatherings.

Eilish, Finneas provide more details about NTTD song

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell did interviews on morning shows in the U.K. and the U.S. and provided a few additional details about the No Time to Die title song they co-wrote with Eilish performing.

BBC BreakfastO’Connell said “we did go to re-listen to everything,” referring to past Bond songs to make sure they weren’t copying “other great songs.”

Eilish said she and her brother had a meeting Eon chief Barbara Broccoli in Ireland in early September.

“She basically gave us a little hint of what the first scene, what’s happening.” Broccoli later sent the first part of the script. “We had what the audience will have watched before they hear the song…It was really, really helpful. It really wrote the song for us.”

The siblings also said they had writer’s block initially. It was after that they wrote the song in three days.

Each also said star Daniel Craig had a big say in the song. “If Daniel doesn’t like it, you don’t get the job,” O’Connell said.

Toward the end, Eilish said she was scared about performing at the BRITS later in the day because “I have to hit a note I’ve never hit before.”

Good Morning America: O’Connell said the duo had “essentially total creative freedom in the writing process.”

Finneas O’Connell discusses origins of NTTD song

Finneas O’Connell, older brother and collaborator of Billie Eilish

Finneas O’Connell, co-writer of the No Time to Die title song with his sister Billie Eilish, described the creative process in an interview with GQ.

“We wrote No Time to Die on a tour bus. Specifically, in the bunks of our tour bus,” told the magazine.

“We were given the first 20 pages of the script. I guess that’s up to the point when the song comes in during the movie, right? That’s how all the Bond films open up.

“So we were able to read the first 20 pages, which was obviously incredible. It gave us such a good steer and such insight into where the song would fall, and the tone. It makes it easier than having to write the whole song based on the entire movie; or in fact none of the movie.”

That sounds like the duo read the script’s pre-titles sequence. The general rule of thumb is that one page of script equals about one minute of screen time.

That suggests the pre-titles sequence may run about 20 minutes, although no one will know for sure until editing of the movie is complete.

O’Connell described what happened next.

“So Billie and I wrote the song, recorded the demo, sent it to them and then we finished it in London with Hans Zimmer doing the orchestral arrangements and also Johnny Marr from The Smiths,” he said. “I mean, James Bond? Hans Zimmer? Johnny Marr? Mind blowing.”

The interview covers other subjects. You can read the interview by CLICKING HERE.

NTTD song gets rave reviews from major outlets

No Time to Die teaser poster

The release of No Time to Die’s title song generated debate among Bond fans. But the Billie Eilish number, which she performed and co-wrote, generated rave reviews from some established outlets.

What follows is a sampling.

BRENNA EHRLICH, ROLLING STONE: “Is this a soundtrack for exploding cars and sharks with lasers on their heads? Hell no. It’s a soundtrack befitting a Bond for our times, played by a worn-out Daniel Craig facing down his fifth and final outing as 007. Bond always gets the girl, but it never ends well. As such, Eilish’s acceptance of a lonely life is really kind of fitting.”

CHRIS WILLMAN, VARIETY: “‘No Time to Die’ is one of the better Bond songs of the last 25 or 30 years, coming in ahead of a lot of entries that seemed promising and didn’t really work: besides Garbage’s and (Sheryl) Crow’s, there were underwhelming efforts from Chris Cornell and the team of Jack White and Alicia Keys, worthy artists that tried to contemporize the idea of what a Bond theme should be, at their mortal peril. (The less remembered about Madonna turning Bond techno, the better.)”

MARK SAVAGE, BBC: Billie Eilish “is known for her intimate, designed-for-headphone vocal style, but she rises to the challenge of the song’s soaring climax, with her early vulnerability transforming into strength and resolve. It’s easily the most audacious and atmospheric take on the Bond theme in recent memory.”

ALEXIS PETRIDRIS, THE GUARDIAN: “Yet Eilish has stamped her own identity on the song. The tendency for vocalists tackling a Bond theme is to belt it out, as if in homage to the most famous Bond singer of the lot: Shirley Bassey is known for many things, but subtle understatement isn’t among them. Eilish, however, opts for her standard close-mic approach in which surliness does battle with vulnerability.”

Your mileage may vary. Among fans, the ones who liked the song really, really liked it while among fans who didn’t care it, they really, really didn’t like it. 

No Time to Die title song debuts

The title song for No Time to Die debuted Thursday night. The song co-written and performed by Billie Eilish included a few Bond music touches.

Around the 1:00 mark, there was a “WAAAAAA” sound that John Barry dropped into his James Bond film scores now and then. Around the 2:02 mark, there was an ominous-sounding instrumental, similar to Barry scores when something, well, ominous was about the happen.

Finally, at the end, there was a brief twang of an electric guitar, again similar to early Barry scores in the Bond series. Barry retired the electric guitar after Sean Connery departed the Eon-produced series. Other composers, such as Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Kamen, and David Arnold brought it back.

We’ll see how the reaction goes. Regardless, it was far from the parody version seen on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on CBS. That was essentially “Bad Guy” with tweaked lyrics.

You can view the YouTube version of the No Time to Die song below.

What’s more, Eon Production posted a video featuring the song. It had some shots (not many) that hadn’t been in previous trailers and TV spots.

UPDATE (8:02 p.m., New York time): If you CLICK HERE you can read the lyrics to No Time to Die. h/t Jack Lugo.

UPDATE II (3:40 a.m., Feb. 14): Hans Zimmer, who is scoring the movie, says on Twitter, that the No Time to Die song includes an orchestral arrangement by himself and Matt Dunkley.