Today: May 25, 2024

David Arnold Interview

Anyone working in the film industry knows the name David Arnold, the man responsible for arranging the scores for Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace. With the recent news that the latest instalment of the 007 franchise is now back on, we can expect more from the composer.

Anyone working in the film industry knows the name David Arnold, the man responsible for arranging the scores for Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace. With the recent news that the latest instalment of the 007 franchise is now back on, we can expect more from the composer. Meantime, in the extraordinary wait for Mr Bond, he has turned his talents on The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due out this Friday. David took time out to speak to Dan Clay.

How did your involvement in the Narnia Chronicles come about?

It mainly came about through having worked with director Michael Apted
on four films previously and building up a relationship since 1999 when we did The
World is Not Enough
. So I
think having worked with him before it was important to keep that relationship
going and for that I’m obviously extremely grateful.

Did you enjoy scoring this film in the Narnia series?

Well because there were two studios involved I thought it was going to
be more difficult than it actually was but it turned out to be lovely. Oddly
enough I had the time to think about it and once we’d got started I was able to
play them sweeps of music I’d already prepared.

Michael Apted is directing the next film in the series – The Silver
Chair – will you be scoring that film too?

Well I’m always happy to work with people that I like because it’s such a
big chunk of your life. For example we worked ninety straight days on Narnia and to spend that much time on something needs
to be in the company of people I like, respect and get on with. I’d be happy to
work with Michael on anything because he’s exceptionally talented and
nurturing. He’ll talk about what you’ve done rather than what you haven’t done
which makes it a much more pleasant experience.

Apart from film, you’ve been involved in TV work such as Little
Britain and Sherlock. Do you prefer this to composing grand film scores?

It’s funny that the TV work has only come about because it’s been
friends of mine that have asked me to do that. Little Britain came about from having met David Walliams in
1996 and bonding over a love of James Bond. Likewise Mark Gatiss came to see me
with the pilot of Sherlock
so I don’t think I’ve ever actually done TV where someone’s asked me to do it
based on reputation.

Would you like to do more then?

I like to do things that are good and fun and I’ve never turned anything
down because it’s on TV or because I might not be that familiar with it. I’m
not averse to trying anything to be honest as long as I think I can do a good

Throughout the variety of different genres of film and television
you’ve scored is there a particular genre you’ve not worked on but would really
like to have a go at?

I’ve never done a horror film, a real tragedy or a western so I suppose
I should do some sort of tragic romance with machine guns! I think to a certain
extent I’m well-suited to comedy, science and adventure themes but I think I’d
be interested to see what I might come up with for other genres. Changing
(the 2002 Samuel L
Jackson/Ben Affleck film) was a serious drama, something I’d never done before
or since but it seemed to work for that film.

And is there one film then that you wished you’d scored?

I’d never say I wished I’d done that but I’ve listened to John Barry and
John Williams and thought “God I wish I could be as good as that or write
something as brilliant as that,”
but I don’t really think about it in those terms.

You’re obviously most well-know for the most recent Bond movies. Was
it a dream come true to work on those films?

It’s a continuing dream come true actually. I mean I can’t complain,
I’ve done five now which is extraordinary in its own right but it does
overshadow just about everything else. It’s been a big thing in my life for
over thirteen years, but as I grew up with those movies and found John Barry so
inspirational it’s one of the main reasons I got into films.

Is it true your first bond collaboration – Tomorrow Never Dies – came
about thanks to John Barry’s compliments on your Shaken and Stirred project?

Well two things happened really; one was that record (Shaken and
Stirred) of course and the other was that Independence Day did such a huge amount of business around the
world and I won a Grammy for it so all of a sudden there was something there
who professed to be a lover of the James Bond music and could handle the big
movies. Barbara Broccoli told me actually that it was a guy in a record shop
who recommended me so I’ve never been quite sure of what kicked it off –
probably a combination of all of those things really.

Now that the MGM situation seems to be resolving, how hopeful are you
of getting back in the studio for Bond 23?

I don’t take it for granted that I’m going to be doing the next one and
until they start production whenever that will be then it’s purely dependent
upon who’s directing it and whether they ask me to do it. Of course it would be
a sad day for me if not.

What else have your got planned coming up?

Obviously Narnia’s coming out this week. Morning Glory with Harrison ford is coming out in January
and this week I’ve just finished scoring Paul starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I’ve also got a couple of things lined
up for next year which, if they come off, will be fairly big but I don’t want
to jinx anything. But they will mark a very different turn of events for me as
they’re outside film.

Of all your work, which score in particular are you most proud of?

I’ve always liked Amazing Grace (the 2006 film detailing William Wilberforce’s efforts to end the slave
trade) for some reason; it touched an emotional spot in me which I don’t get to
deal with quite often. It felt like there was a real responsibility to do
something genuine and truthful and for some reason I’ve always really liked it.
While it’s not that typical of anything I’ve done – in fact it’s quite different
to most things I’ve done – it’s got an emotional honesty which is sometimes
more difficult to come across with fantasy and action adventure. Of course I’ll
always have a soft spot for my first Bond movie and for Stargate as that’s sort of what kicked it all off

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” soundtrack is out now and the film is released on Friday
10th December.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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