Ever since he first laid down tracks for Tim Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure 25 years ago, composer (and erstwhile ’80s rock star) Danny Elfman has crafted scores for dozens of iconic films and television shows.
You can scarcely swing a cat without bumping up against an Elfman creation, be it the opening songs from The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives to now-legendary themes for flicks like Batman and Spider-Man.
You’ll get to hear him again in some of the biggest movies on the horizon, including Real Steel, Men In Black III and The Hunger Games, and if you’re interested in his past work, he recently released a 16 disc retrospective box set of his collaborations with Tim Burton. This week, he also just opened Cirque Du Soleil: Iris in Los Angeles. EW caught up with him recently, and he told us his memories from some of his favorite projects.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
“If I were to list my favorite collaborations with Tim [Burton], I would say number one would be The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was the purest, simplest process I had in all the years with Tim. There was less pressure, and the results came from the ability to kind of wander. We didn’t know how to start doing a musical; there was an animation crew ready to go and there was no script. So we started with the songs. And literally, he’d come over and start telling me the story.
I said, ‘Just tell me the story like you’re reading a book to a kid.’ So he’d take out some pictures and tell a little bit of the story, and as he was telling the story, I’d start to hear an idea for a song. Usually about three days later, I’d play him the song, and then he would tell me more of the story. Ten times we got together, he told me a story and I wrote the songs. When I was writing lyrics for [Oingo Boingo], I would write about abstract things or things that annoyed me. I could be bitter or facetious about something. I had never written anything where I told a story and wasn’t sarcastic in the process. It was a new experience writing lyrics for songs that were doing a complete narrative.” READ FULL STORY