“Wolfman” Score – Elfman Out, Haslinger In

A. Quinton — Nov. 18th 2009

If you haven’t already heard this from the many news sources that exploded with panic over the subject last week, let me break it to you gently: Danny Elfman will not be composing the score to The Wolfman. I know. I’m sorry. He’s really very busy composing the score to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland. It’s going to be okay, don’t worry. Here is a picture of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter you can look at while you regain your composure.

Taking Elfman’s place is Paul Haslinger, whose music you may have heard while watching Underworld, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Crank or While She Was Out.  He was also a member of Tangerine Dream, which is a qualification I dare you to denigrate. Haslinger will be recording the score in January 2010, which is cutting it pretty close to the February release, but everything else in this production has gone haywire and then (seemingly) gone right at the last moment, so why not the score?

I’ve heard some people bemoaning this change as further proof that The Wolfman will stink, but I’m actually vaguely cheered by this news. I like Danny Elfman’s work, don’t get me wrong, but I’m of the opinion that a composer’s score should blend into the film, just as an actor should become invisible in the role of a character. Elfman’s music is always appropriate but never blends… the moment I hear that jaunty-yet-morbid brass section kick in, I think well, here’s Danny Elfman again.

  • Berserker

    I don’t believe Haslinger has the ability to compose a score that seems appropriate for the film’s setting. A gothic setting in the 19th century is not the same as a gothic setting in the 21st century; Haslinger knows electronica, not orchestra, and his score will be jarringly anachronistic.

  • Mac

    Not all scores by Danny Elfman have the same recognizable sound. Often I think he is hired because of his unique music, and especially when it comes to Burton movies, however he is capable of going beyond that. As an example of a score that was not so Elfman-ized I give you the soundtrack to Terminator Salvation. (Yes, I know the movie blows. Regardless, it didn’t have the same distinct score that Elfman normally does.)

  • I dunno. The involvement of Tangerine Dream (or a Tangerine Dreamer, at least) brings back memories of Ridley Scott’s LEGEND….

    I’m not sure if not remembering any of the score from the UNDERWORLD films is a good or bad thing here.

  • Viergacht

    I don’t think you’re giving Danny nearly enough credit. Obviously he’s best known to the average listener for bombastic scores, but he’s also quite capable of a wide range of musical styles. He’s pretty much genius (self-taught, too).

    Anyways, I’ve gotta say this is depressing news and it’s taken a big chunk off my enthusiasm for the Wolf Man. I’ll probably see it anyways, but still.