British composer Martin Phipps talks about the Making of Music for Ridley Scott's Napoleon


An empowering story needs equally intense music to support its narrative and director Ridley Scott has ensured this with his highly anticipated film Napoleon.

Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar®️-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed. 

For the score of the film, Scott enlisted British composer Martin Phipps for their first collaboration. As they met before filming, Scott gave Phipps his impressions of the film he would be making. “If you think of a typical Ridley Scott film, there's usually a lot of score – a lot of action music, a lot of romantic music, a lot of soundtrack doing its traditional work. But Ridley spoke about how he is a particular fan of the Kubrick film Barry Lyndon,” says Phipps, noting the film is one that drew on much of the research that Kubrick did for the Napoleon film he never made. “Tonally, that was quite a guide for him. Barry Lyndon actually had no score – no composed music at all – only tracks from the time that Kubrick had carefully selected and sometimes edited. So I brought that approach to the score of Napoleon: quite a few of the pieces I wrote were almost like they could be tracks at the time or have a flavor of that period and weren't traditionally scored. It was a step back, a chance to be more specific, more particular about where we would use music, where we wouldn’t, and what the music was doing.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment India releases ‘Napoleon’ on 24th November 2023 in English & Hindi, only in cinemas.

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