The first project we worked on together was "TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS" starring Faye Dunaway, Brendan Fraser, Rosie O'Donnell and Jennifer Beals. Garry Marshall served as the Executive Producer and also had a featured role. It was a wonderful and moving project, based on the play by Jonathan Tollins. Suzanne and my longtime songwriting partner, Steve Plunkett and I, custom wrote a song for the film called "Keys to the World" which dealt with the central theme and question: Choice. As a woman, if you knew you were carrying a fetus whose genetic makeup was going to yield a gay human being, would you abort?
"What if you had the Keys to the World
And held them here in your hands?
If it were you - what would you do?
Would you unlock the plan?"
We wove the themes and created vocal and textural quotes of the melody throughout the score to the Picture, culminating in its full realization when Jennifer decides to keep the child and the song appears, going out over end credits. We were nominated for a Cable Ace® Award for Best Original Song for A Motion Picture in 1997.
As a result, when Regent began to develop "GODS AND MONSTERS," I was asked to get involved early on. Regent and its principals have world - class taste in material that is both sensitive and highly dramatic. As soon as I read Bill Condon’s brilliant script, I was hooked and eager to be a part of the project. Although the Picture was made for a modest budget of about $3.8 million, every dime was on the screen.
A movie about the mystery and complexity of director/producer James Whale’s life and death - with a stellar cast consisting of Sir Ian McKellan, Lynn Redgrave and Brendan Fraser - was a real challenge musically. Fortunately, the guy who wrote the script was also directing it. Bill Condon had a crystal clear vision of his movie on all fronts. His musical goals were elegant, subtle and dramatically supportative. No frills - only class, filled with emotion and depth. This is what Bill brought out in the stellar cast and in the cinematography. These goals needed to be fulfilled in the music as well.
Carter Burwell is one of the great living composers who writes "outside the box" while hitting all the beats to punctuate visuals in a fresh manner. He has written all of the Coen Brothers scores (FARGO, BLOOD SIMPLE, HUDSUCKER PROXY, RAISING ARIZONA, etc.) as well as big budget movies like ROB ROY and CONSPIRACY THEORY. He continues to work primarily in independent features, but we believe that the mainstream movies give Carter the freedom to accept more satisfying projects, even if they are less lucrative. This is what happened when I sent him a rough cut of "GODS AND MONSTERS." He instantly got it, and told Bill and me that he had to do it - notwithstanding our modest budget. He felt, as we all did, that he could make a special contribution to a movie that would have a long life, if it had the opportunity to be seen.
Well, seen it has been. Who knew this small movie would find such a large, worldwide acceptance. After an Academy® Award, three Academy® nominations, three Golden Globe® nominations and one win, I still feel that this movie is a timeless work of art. I encourage anyone with a soul to see it and you will be moved by its poignancy. I am proud to have had the opportunity to have served as one of the Co-Executive Producers of the film as well as the Supervising Music Producer.