First off, a disclaimer: Derailed is an extremely dark and intense film – the R rating is largely for “strong disturbing violence,” and one scene in particular has a sequence of sexual violence which, while not overly explicit in a strictly visual sense, is pretty gut-wrenching in its emotional intensity. Some people are very sensitive to seeing this sort of content in a film without prior knowledge, so I want to give fair warning in advance.
Derailed is a sort of neo-Hitchcockian thriller/drama, chronicling a seemingly endless downward spiral of bad circumstance for the main characters (portrayed by Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston). I can’t talk too much about the plot without giving away spoilers, and there are enough surprise twists and turns in the story that I don’t want to ruin it ahead of time. If you’re like me, and can’t stand not knowing how certain plot points get resolved, the movie is based on a novel of the same name by James Siegel, which I plowed through in very short order. Although there are some fairly dramatic changes to some of the main characters’ backgrounds from book to film, the gist of the story looks to be pretty intact.
I say “looks to be” because the only bits of the actual film I’ve seen were the clips used by Edward Shearmur during our recording sessions for the soundtrack. I haven’t heard any of the “final” soundtrack yet, but what I can say is that Sheramur’s score, at the stage I was brought in, seemed to consist of three main elements: a heavy post-techno electronic element, which Ed produced himself; an orchestral element (including some prominent and very haunting parts for harp); and my looping/guitar work. So far as I know, I’m the only guitarist on the score, and Edward had me play a bit of “regular” guitar on some composed bits during the sessions, which was quite a bit of fun.
What few bits of the score I heard with my own contributions added left me quite surprised and taken aback, in the best possible sense – Shermur had found some very creative, unusual, and prominent applications for the Echoplex material I recorded. As with the Two For The Money score, Abelton Live played a significant role for Derailed, and my distinct impression is that Edward absolutely worked with my performances in a compositional manner, shaping them substantially after the fact. There were a number of different approaches taken with the looped performances, as well – some very edgy and dissonant-sounding stuff, some more purely ambient and textural material, and some stuff that’s closer to my “regular” bag. As with the Christophe Beck sessions, a whole lot of material was recorded with Edward, some of it I have no memory of playing.
So the issue of how much of my contributions made it to the final score, and in exactly what form, is still mostly a mystery to me, and will be until Derailed opens next Friday. But I’m very excited to see the results… and, as with Two For The Money, absolutely delighted to have had a chance to be part of the project.