Oscar History

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Recommend Interview: Justin Hurwitz learns the theremin and other "First Man"stories (Email)

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by Nathaniel R

A lot of people who win two Oscars by the age of 32,亚博主页with only three films under their belt (not that there's many of those people,mind you) might safely be said to have peaked early.If the Golden Globe nominated score forFirst Manis any indication however,Justin Hurwitzis still on a steady ascent into his power as a composer.The gifted 33 year-old has scored all four ofDamien Chazelle's films.The first three were musicals in spirit or by nature.The fourth,First Man,is less of a departure than expected since the emotive score is crucial to the film's success.

Chazelle and Hurwitz were college roommates and have been fiercely loyal since.While Chazelle was struggling to get his first films made,always with the plan for Hurwitz to score them,Hurwitz survived by breaking into sitcom writing "I don't take for granted how lucky I was to get to write comedy professionally,"he says but the plan was always to be a composer "I am more passionate about music than anything else in the world."

Our full interview,edited and condensed for clarity,follows...

NATHANIEL: When did you first know you wanted to be a composer?

JUSTIN HURWITZ: I grew up playing piano,taking lessons since I was six.My parents gave me a synthesizer and a sequencer for my tenth birthday that lets you layer tracks,so I started composing then.I wasn't thinking about movies yet but it was around that same time that I started noticing film scores.The most impactful to me were the John Williams / Steven Spielberg films.Jurassic Parkhad a big impact on me.E.T.on VHS...I was so in love with that score.

NATHANIEL: Touchstones for a lot of people!

JUSTIN HURWITZ: As I got into college I discovered composers like Nina Rota and Bernard Hermann and all sorts of others.

WatchingFirst Man,I thought 'god this most have been an overwhelming film to score,' but on the other hand afterLa La Land,maybe I'm wrong.Perhaps it was a piece of cake?

It was definitelynota piece of cake.In a lot of ways it was my most challenging score...

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