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How John Powell found joy through struggle in Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.

Composer John Powell has been composing film scores since 1997; whether it’s How to Train Your Dragon, The Bourne Identity, or Solo: A Star Wars Story, you’ve likely heard and loved at least one of his scores. He earned an Academy Award nomination in 2010 for the epic, uplifting sweep of How to Train Your Dragon, and has three Grammy nominations for his scores to Happy Feet, Ferdinand, and Solo.

But now, the veteran composer has an Emmy nomination under his belt, for a decidedly different project than he’s used to: Documentary. For Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Davis Guggenheim‘s Apple TV+ original exploring the actor’s rise to Hollywood fame and subsequent struggle with Parkinson’s, Powell spent a whopping five months working on a score that balanced Fox’s unique struggles while emphasizing the joy and energy that animates the actor’s decades-long career.

Powell was also kind enough to join us to talk for a bit about the arduous process of building the score, how scoring for documentary requires an entirely different musical vocabulary, and how Guggenheim pulled him through his toughest moments as a composer.

You can find John Powell at his official website here.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is currently streaming on Apple TV+. You can also listen to the score on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Lakeshore Records.

CategoriesRight on Cue