Spinner interviewed Wes Anderson & longtime music supervisor Randall Poster about Fantastic Mr. Fox‘s soundtrack.
Full article after the jump, but check Spinner for a great promo video featuring Bobby Fuller Four’s “Let Her Dance.”
Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ Soundtrack Appeals to ‘All Ages’
by Tim Lowery
Like his movies, each of writer-director Wes Anderson’s soundtracks has a totally unique feel. The British Invasion cuts in ‘Rushmore’ burst with teen angst and the drunk-like feelings associated with falling for your first love; the songs in ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ by the likes of David Bowie and the Stooges are adventurous, even reckless at times. For ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox,’ Anderson’s first animated feature starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman, the director and his longtime music supervisor Randall Poster finally used a band they’ve been toying with using for years: the Beach Boys.
Why the wait? “I really loved the Beach Boys as a kid,” Anderson tells Spinner when discussing the film’s use of their songs ‘Heroes and Villains’ and ‘Ol’ Man River.’ “Even young children really love the Beach Boys, so it’s one of those [bands] that kind of works for all ages.” Anderson says he originally intended to use the group’s ‘Sloop John B’ in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ but for some reason or another it didn’t pan out. Considering that ‘Fox,’ an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, is meant to play equally well with kids and adults, though, he feels that holding off on using them was well worth it.
For ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox”s original score, Anderson enlisted French composer Alexandre Desplat, whose whimsical, sprightly compositions bubble along as Mr. Fox and his friends run for their lives from three local farmers. “I’m a fan of Alexandre’s from ‘Birth’ and also ‘The Queen,'” Anderson says. “He lives in my neighborhood in Paris, so it was a perfect kind of situation for us. I first mentioned the film [to him] several years ago, in fact.”
Another neighbor of sorts, fellow Parisian Jarvis Cocker, plays an original song for the movie, ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox (aka Petey’s Song),’ and voices a character, a troubadour who bears an uncanny resemblance to Cocker himself. “The words [to the song] were written by Noah Baumbach and I in our script, so that’s all we contributed,” Anderson explains. “Jarvis wrote the music and made it into a real song. I’ve known Jarvis for many years now; we were just lucky enough that he agreed to do it.”
“I think there’s a certain naïve hopefulness to the music in the movie,” music supervisor Poster says, who originally met Anderson at a farmers market in Los Angeles and, shocked that the director’s debut, ‘Bottle Rocket,’ didn’t have a soundtrack, put one together for London Records. “There’s a little bit of a cultural collision,” he continues about the music in ‘Fox,’ “where you have a certain Americana element that rubs up against maybe an English folk traditional that then finds itself getting spun around by some beautiful, melancholic French perspective.”
That eclectic, multicultural mix Poster speaks of is clearly evident in ‘Fox”s soundtrack, which includes songs by Art Tatum, the Bobby Fuller Four, director François Truffaut’s go-to composer Georges Delerue, Burl Ives, Nancy Adams and — no surprise to Anderson aficionados — the Rolling Stones, a band featured more often than any other in the director’s films.
When asked whether the Stones have ever spoken to him about the heavy use of their music in his films, Anderson says, “I heard that they said something about ‘She Smiled Sweetly’ [from ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’] in a show they played once. But I couldn’t get a ticket actually, so I didn’t hear what they said.”
The ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ soundtrack is out now on ABKCO Records.