The first time British composer Daniel Pemberton read Aaron Sorkin’s script for “Steve Jobs,” he had no idea where any of the music he was asked to write would fit in to a movie that was so dialogue-heavy. It wasn’t until director Danny Boyle explained his thematic ideas for the film that Pemberton knew exactly how he wanted to approach this massive challenge.
In “Steve Jobs,” which explores some of the career milestones of the late Apple co-founder and his relationships with his colleagues and estranged daughter, the film is broken down into three distinct acts. The first act takes place in 1984 with the launch of the Macintosh. Pemberton said Boyle described this act as “Vision.” The second act is set in 1988 during the launch of the NeXT computer, four years after Jobs was fired from Apple. Boyle described this act as “Revenge.” The final act happens in 1998 with the launch of the iMac. Pemberton said Boyle described it as “Wisdom.”
With those three words, Pemberton was put on a track to write a score reflective of some of the technological advancements Jobs was able to create during the highs and lows of his incredible career. During an interview with Tribeca, Pemberton, 37, talked about why writing music for the “Revenge” section excited him the most, what kind of research he did for the project, and how he feels Steve Jobs himself has changed the way he works as a composer over the last 20 years.
You’ve had quite a year writing the scores from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and now “Steve Jobs.” What was your reaction when Danny Boyle asked you to compose a score for his new film
Well, I had a meeting with Danny last year that lasted half an hour. He was a really big fan of my work on “The Counselor.” After the meeting, he flew off and immediately started filming, so I really didn’t have any time to take it all in. It was amazing to be asked. I mean, how would you feel if someone asked, “Do you want to do the new Danny Boyle film with a script by Aaron Sorkin about Steve Jobs?”
I read that when some of the actors were auditioning for their roles, they weren’t given the real script to read from because the studio didn’t want any of it to leak. When did you actually get to see a script to start working from it?
I got the script early on. I thought it was phenomenal. Then all this Sony hacking kicked off, so I didn’t really get back to them. I thought, “Well, they probably don’t want to hear from me right now. They have too many things on their plate.” Two weeks later, I remember asking my agent, “Is anything happening with the ‘Steve Jobs’ movie?” He was like, “You haven’t told them you like the script?! Email them back now!” So, I sent them an email and two minutes later they wrote back and were like, “Oh, we’re so glad you want to do it!” So, I kind of played it cool in the most stupid way possible.
To read the rest of my interview with Daniel Pemberton, click HERE.