“Prey” composer on the balance between gory action and emotional plot

Prey composer Sarah Schachner considered two elements when she scored the 1700 entry in the Predator franchise. “We were making a ‘Predator’ movie with all the fun, gory action and suspense that you would expect, but the music also had to tell Naru’s emotional story and evolution,” she says.

The action thriller set in the Comanche nation follows Naru, played by Amber Midthunder. Naru is hungry to show off her skills as a hunter, but she gets more than she bargained for when a deadly alien makes contact with Dreadlocks and begins hunting for fun.

Schinchner’s greatest challenge, she says, was finding the balance of the score, which feels both large and expansive and intimate and raw, to suit the natural 18th-century setting. Schachner says, “The key was not being afraid to speak up in a film with so little dialogue.”

The composer played and recorded almost every string instrument featured in the score. On the subject of “Predator” she says: “That came up almost immediately in full form. I have a voice memo of me playing it and working it out on the double bass for the first time.” Adds Schachner, “I tend to pour my own emotions directly into my playing, so writing and performing was all of that increasingly aggressive iterations of the ‘Predator’ theme like therapy for me.”

For Naru’s theme, Schachner worked with the film’s director, Dan Trachtenberg. “Dan and I spent a while working together on Naru’s theme. He insisted it should feel like a journey; that it starts small and really gets you somewhere.”

She didn’t write the score on screen and the version of Naru’s theme that appears on the soundtrack is longer than in the film. “They told me they shot more footage to accommodate the length,” Schachner reveals.

Native American Pueblo musician and flute player Robert Mirabal also features in the score. Schachner was looking for other instrumentalists to work with when she came across a YouTube video of the musician.

She knew immediately that she wanted to work with him and sought him out. “I was recording with Robert on multiple wind instruments via Zoom one night and I ended up asking him if he even sang.” Regarding Mirabel’s singing, she says, “It was one of those perfect moments to give the film that extra depth.”

https://variety.com/2022/artisans/news/prey-composer-sarag-schachner-predator-1235335034/ “Prey” composer on the balance between gory action and emotional plot

Charles Jones

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