Since its nationwide release on June 8, Prometheus has become one of the summer's hottest blockbuster films, earning more than $100 million at the box office. Matching the storyline in the compelling sci-fi thriller is the evocative score written by composer Marc Streitenfeld. In an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com, Streitenfeld discusses his work on Prometheus, his musical background and creative influences, music's role in motion pictures, and his process for composing a score, among other topics.
"Music can have a very important role in films," says Streitenfeld. "Obviously it has a strong effect on storytelling [and] the flow of a film. You can create another layer of storytelling with music. Sometimes it's more of a subliminal effect [that] might not be noticed. And sometimes music has to step up and drive a scene or create a transition."
Directed by Ridley Scott, Prometheus follows the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they search for the origins of humanity, only to encounter a threat that could potentially cause the extinction of the human race. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Noomi Rapace, and Charlize Theron, among others. The film's score was recorded by a 90-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London. The soundtrack features 25 tracks composed by Streitenfeld, including one co-written by Harry Gregson-Williams and another co-authored by Jerry Goldsmith. In composing the music for Prometheus, Streitenfeld approached it as he does all of his film projects: with a heavy dose of preparation.
"I try to get as much information or exposure to projects as I can," says Streitenfeld. "I read the script, I sometimes visit the set [and] I see rough cuts. … I take all that and start writing. There's no recipe to it."
Born in Germany, Streitenfeld took up classical guitar as a child. His musical influences range from rock artists such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to classical composers such as Beethoven and Bach. After moving to Los Angeles at age 19, Streitenfeld landed his first film music job as an assistant to GRAMMY-winning composer Hans Zimmer. He segued into work as an independent music editor, working with director Scott on films such as Hannibal, Black Hawk Down and Kingdom Of Heaven. In 2006 he composed his first score for another Scott film, A Good Year. Streitenfeld has since composed music for films such as American Gangster, Body Of Lies, Robin Hood, The Grey, and Killing Them Softly.