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Re: Revisiting X-Men
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• Posted by: Jonathan Broxton   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Saturday, February 4, 2017, at 2:33 a.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Revisiting X-Men (Steven P.)

I'm pretty sure I have told this story here before, but for those who missed it, here's the lowdown on Kamen's X-Men.

Kamen came fairly late onto the project, because the film's release date was delayed and pushed back, and then Ottman (who was originally going to score it) couldn't because he was directing his Urban Legend sequel movie, and various other things... so, while Kamen was writing his X-Men score, I invited him to speak at an event called Soundtracking which was held at an arthouse cinema in my hometown, Sheffield. Although he was super busy Kamen agreed to do it, and came up from London on the train, we had dinner together, and then I interviewed him on stage prior to a screening of the movie BRAZIL, which he had chosen as his favorite film of all the ones he had scored to that date.

After the screening I gave him a ride back to his hotel, and he says to me "hey, do you want to take a listen to this new score I'm working on?"... so I say, "sure," and we go up to his room, he pulls out this CDR from his briefcase, puts it into his portable CD player, and plays for me the MIDI mockups of the first four cues from his X-Men score. It's still a work in progress but what I hear is huge: epic themes, rich and full orchestrations, lavish action music. It's basically his Superman. He says he's about halfway done, and once he's finished he's going to fly to LA, play his demos for the execs at Fox, and then eventually record it in London.

Flash forward to when the movie comes out... and we all know what happened. Subdued themes, muted orchestra, much more electronic, all pulsey action music, etc. Not at all what I heard on that CDR. So, the next time I see Kamen, I ask what happened, and he says it was all to do with Lauren Shuler Donner, the producer. They ended up recording the score at Fox in LA (more post production issues), and at one point Lauren comes in and starts making unhappy noises... she starts leafing through the sheet music (even though she can't read music), tutting and shaking her head, and stops the session in its tracks. Kamen, Lauren Shuler Donner and Bryan Singer have this big stand-up argument in the corridor outside the studio and, to cut a long story short, Lauren Shuler Donner makes Kamen basically re-write the score to be more "modern," with fewer themes, more electronics, etc, resulting in the score we eventually got.

Kamen did NOT want to write this. This was him pandering to LSD's wishes. His original vision for the score was much bigger, grander, orchestral, thematic, more in line with traditional classic super hero music. I so wish I could have heard the final version of the MIDI heard that day because, honestly, it was phenomenal. Like, career-best good.


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