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Sunday, October 24, 2021

James Bond: Composer David Arnold reflects on Craig’s films


The composer for the first two James Bond films starring Daniel Craig has spoken of the actor’s “hard-hitting” portrayal of 007.

David Arnold, who worked on Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, said he first read the script of Craig’s 2006 debut before the actor was appointed.

Craig’s hiring then “cemented” the idea that the music had to be “brutal”.

As No Time to Die hits cinemas, Luton-born Arnold said it was a “lifelong dream” to work on the Bond franchise.

Arnold’s music helped set the tone for Casino Royale, with the composer describing Bond in the script as a “unreconstructed brute.”

“It was a big shift because it [Casino Royale] was effectively a reboot,” Arnold explained.

Award-winning composer David Arnold said the Casino Royale music had to be “quite brutal, hard-hitting”

“I read the script without knowing who would play James Bond. For the first time, I was able to read the character without knowing who the actor was, which influences your perception.

“Seeing Daniel in the rushes and on set when he was cast kind of cemented the idea.” It had to be brutal and hard-hitting, but it also had to be genetically related to the James Bond theme and music.”

He went on to say that it was “also incredibly satisfying working with Chris Cornell, an amazing singer,” who sang the film’s title track, You Know My Name.

‘On top of Everest’

While attending sixth form college in Luton, Arnold began composing music for films. He became friends with fellow Luton resident and aspiring director Danny Cannon, who went on to produce the TV police drama series CSI, and was able to score some of his films.

He was offered the opportunity to compose music for the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies after organising and producing an album of Bond movie cover songs. He went on to write the scores for The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.

When asked about his first job with Bond, he said: “I thought I was on top of Everest, but then I realised I was at the bottom and needed to find my way to the top. That’s when the work began. It had been a lifelong dream of mine to do it.”

Outside of Bond, Arnold has worked with comedians David Walliams and Matt Lucas

Arnold, who also co-wrote the music for the BBC drama Sherlock and served as musical director for the 2012 Olympics, stated that one of the reasons he wanted to compose for the cinema was Bond films.

He saw the film You Only Live Twice when he was eight years old at the Luton Royal British Legion club.

“I’d been to the movies before, but I hadn’t seen anything like that before, and I’m not sure I should have at that age,” he explained.

“The film was both enthralling and opulent. Everything is glamorous when you come from Luton, but that was another world.”

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