A Musical Identity... for ‘Identity Thief’
By: Christopher Lennertz for Huffington Post
The film Horrible Bosses was an amazing experience for me, and my first experience working with director Seth Gordon. We approached the score in a very different fashion from other projects I had done, and attacked the recording much like we would make a record. We were very proud of it and it gave the movie its signature sound. When Seth called about doing his next film Identity Thief, and wanted to revisit a similar process, I was of course thrilled to work with him and partner in the same way, but also wanted to make sure that the sound would grow and be unique to this new story. It wasn't until I saw an early cut that I could really see how much more range this film had in terms of comedy, action and emotion.
Now I was excited! I had worked with Bateman on Bosses and knew that Melissa was a fearless comic genius... but what I wasn't expecting was the poignant family story, the hilarious physical comedy, the insane John Landis style car chases, and then a truly stunning emotional performance that left the theater breathless. I knew we could start by putting together another "super-band" and recording them like a record again, but then augmenting the sound with full orchestra and an arsenal of soloists to put the audience right in the car with our duo on their crazy, life-changing trip from Florida to Denver.
We brought in some of our Bosses cohorts like Money Mark (known for his work with the Beastie Boys), bassist Chris Chaney from Janes' Addiction, drummer Victor Indrizzo (Sheryl Crow, Beck, Gnarls Barkley), and Davey Chedwiggen (Feist). Knowing that we were going to travel through the gritty south and aware of the sassiness that Melissa's character needed, we added Myron McKinley from Earth, Wind, and Fire on Organ and Keys. Then, in order to give Robert Patrick (best known for Terminator 2) the proper swagger as the Skipchaser who's after our heroes, I enlisted the talents of blues harp master, Jimmie Wood, and the legendary Tommy Morgan on bass harmonica.
The most important things for Seth were to give each character their own sound that could develop as their characters changed in the film, making sure that our audience was along for both the fun and humor of the ride, but then emotionally connected to the end of the film and the transformation of our leads. We even topped it off by crafting a song for the credits (co-written by Todd Bozung and myself) that was based on Bateman's theme from the film and sung with amazing power by the immensely talented Ty Taylor. It was an amazing journey, and we were supported creatively along the way by our gifted producers, and everyone at Universal. I think the eclectic score fits the amazing range of the film and I am really proud of this second trip that I've been able to take with Seth.
It's not easy to pack so many laughs, so much heart, and such action into a single film... but Seth really nailed it, and it was a dream for a composer like myself. I hope everyone has as much fun watching, and listening to it as we had making it!