SDCC ’10: Live From the Danny Elfman Panel


Composer makes his first Con appearance

Wow, people really love Danny and give him a standing ovation for his first appearance ever at Comic-con.

No fancy intro or anything just right to the questions from the panel host …

What does he think the collaboration with Tim Burton that has been incredible over the years? “I was the only composer’s phone number he had available. Not really sure why he kept calling back. I hadn’t considered scoring films and I got a call that this kid was doing a Pee Wee Herman film and I was excited because I already liked Pee Wee Herman. But we both grew up watching horror films and talked about our love of The Day the Earth Stood Still and the score on that.”

The toughest score he’s ever done? “Batman score by far. It was my first big score and I had to prove myself. There was a point in the movie where they wanted Michael Jackson and Prince to be part of the score and I left the production for a while.”

Do you have a favorite project? “Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas because they were so different and strange.” Nightmare was the most fun because Tim had no script and so they started writing songs and they winged it.

Does Danny feel music in his head? “Yes all the time.” If there is music playing in a room he can’t tune out. He gets loops in his head all the time.

Why was Hans Zimmer chosen for the Simpsons movie? “I wasn’t interested to be honest. It is fun to listen to that mock music, but it isn’t fun to do.”

What is his favorite song? “That’s a tough one because I hate every song I ever write and never want to hear it again. I am very weird about ever listening to anything I’ve ever done. If I had to pick one Jack’s Lament.”

A fan asks Elfman how he got involved with Darkman. Elfman: “Sam Raimi was on my short list for a directors that if they call it is an automatic yes.” Elfman tells a funny story about the first time meeting Raimi and they were filming a rain scene for Darkman and they gave Elfman a rain coat and had him throw water on Liam Neeson for two hours. ”

A fan asks if he misses doing music rather than filming scores. Elfman says it is a mixed bag. When he was making music he wanted to do scores, but now he does scores he wants to do music. Now, he’s writing more orchestral music not for films and that is occupying his time.

Any chance of Oingo Boingo reunion? Nope. He compares a dead rock band that comes back to zombies and that they should just stay dead. More seriously, his hearing is fading and he doesn’t want to risk his hearing any longer so nothing will get him on stage. No amount of money or anything.

A kid asks what his first song he wrote. It was a song when he was a street band in the early Boingo days and they used to dress up in crazy outfits and sing this song on the streets.

A fan then kisses Elfman’s ass for about 5 minutes about how he listens to him at work and blah, blah, blah no one cares.

Elfman luckily cuts him off and tells a funny story about his friend that used to tell him about listening to music at work and how it was bad for your health – at least his music.

Some guy then goes on the mic and asks for a job. He’s denied.

How long does it take him to do a composer and are there deadlines? “Yes, always deadlines. If there were not deadlines I’d still be working on Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” Elfman says. He then says it takes usually about three to five weeks to do a soundtrack to a film.

Some guy then comes out and says he’s a big fan of his wife, Bridget Fonda, and wonders when he will see her again. Kind of creepy but Elfman is a good sport about it.

Has he ever worked on music for a video game? He worked on Fable. But he hasn’t been asked too often. Anything interesting is possible.

Living or dead what director would he most want to work with? If he could go back in history, Elfman would work for Alfred Hitchcock.

Source: Peter Brown