On September 25th, Varèse Sarabande will digitally release the AMERICAN ULTRA – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Composed by Marcelo Zarvos (ROCK THE KASBAH, THE AFFAIR) with additional music by Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll (TORMENTED, PEAKY BLINDERS).

American Ultra Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart Comedy HD

AMERICAN ULTRA is a fast-paced action comedy about Mike (Jesse Eisenberg), a seemingly hapless and unmotivated stoner whose small-town life with his live-in girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), is suddenly turned upside down. Unbeknownst to him, Mike is actually a highly trained, lethal sleeper agent. In the blink of an eye, as his secret past comes back to haunt him, Mike is thrust into the middle of a deadly government operation and is forced to summon his inner action-hero in order to survive.

We interviewed Marcelo Zarvos recently, and when I asked him about his love of the piano, he told me a bit about his upcoming score for AMERICAN ULTRA – “[The Piano] has become a very expressive thing for me and very personal, but at the same time I’m very excited when there is a Score where I don’t use Piano at all, like the one I just finished for ‘American Ultra;’ an action comedy film that’s very electronic and doesn’t have a single note of Piano in the whole thing. But of course the Piano is always a trusty companion.”

You can read my full interview with Marcelo here, and also our follow-up article with him here, where he gives us his tips for young and aspiring composers.

Marcelo and additional music composer Paul Hartnoll, both further explain working on AMERICAN ULTRA: “I always love when a film pushes me to do something different from what I’ve done before,” says Marcelo. “In the case of ‘American Ultra,’ director Nima Nourizadeh was very keen on an electronic sounding score, so we could never really picture a person playing an instrument. Even when certain elements were played live, a lot of time was spent processing the sounds so they always felt strange and unexpected.  It was a fun direction that informed the entire score. Paul [Hartnoll] comes from the pop world and I obviously come from film. I think the idea was to blend those two worlds into a cohesive whole.”

Paul then explains – “I’d had a chat with Nima, the director. We spoke about the various themes and styles that would be needed for the film. Nima’s main directions were ‘make it more organic with the drums’, he wanted them to have a primal feel.  Another one was ‘do something that would kick off at the Glastonbury Festival’, and ‘more wrapped, more twisted!’ All words as a composer, you want to hear!”

And Paul also discusses about working with Marcelo – “I scored the fireworks scene first as it was the end game to every fight scene, it’s where Mike turns the tables. Everything else from my end was a variation and build to that moment. It’s also where Marcelo and I come together for the first time and the two strands of the score come together.  As the score progressed, Marcelo and I collaborated on two long pieces that were for the big fight scene near the end of the film.”

The film is currently in theatres, and you can find out more here on the films official website.

Posted by Lee Allen

Film and Television Score enthusiast. Podcast Host at Bombad Radio. World traveller.

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