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40. RANDY EDELMAN

2008 RANKING: 39
AGE: 62
BIRTHPLACE: Paterson, New Jersey
REPRESENTATION: Gorfaine/Schwartz
BACKGROUND: University of Cincinnati, arranger-songwriter, recording artist, TV composer
ONGOING FILMMAKER RELATIONSHIPS: Rob Cohen
FAN FAVORITES: Gettysburg, Dragonheart
TYPECAST IN: Comedy
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. XXX--141 (U.S. gross in millions)
2. The Mask--119
3. Ghostbusters II--112
4. Twins--111
5. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor--102 
6. Kindergarten Cop--91
7. While You Were Sleeping--81
8. 27 Dresses--76 
9. The Last of the Mohicans--75
10. Six Days, Seven Nights--74

Randy Edelman's career trajectory, as with so many of his colleagues, has been greatly determined by the careers of the directors he's worked with. In the '90s, Edelman collaborators such as Ivan Reitman (Kindergarten Cop), Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) and Rob Cohen (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) were making top hits, but both Reitman and Lynn have since become much less prolific, and neither has worked with Edelman lately. However, Rob Cohen seems to have bounced back from the huge box-office failure of Stealth with the reasonably successful third entry in the Mummy series, which gave Edelman his first opportunity in years to write a large scale fantasy adventure score. The success of 27 Dresses has given him a renewed presence in the romantic comedy genre, and he returns to the milieu in next year's Leap Year, starring Amy Adams.

WHAT'S NEXT: Leap Year


2008 RANKING:  Not ranked
AGE: 54
BIRTHPLACE:  Auckland, New Zealand
REP: Kraft-Engel
RELATIONSHIPS: David Ayer, Danny Cannon, Robert Rodriguez, David Twohy
BACKGROUND: Trained in piano and French horn, psychiatric orderly, rock band SPK   
FAN FAVORITES: Dead Calm, The Crow
TYPECAST IN: Thrillers 
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider--131
2. Daredevil--102
3. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle--88
4. Pineapple Express--87 
5. Freddy vs. Jason--82
6. Sin City--73
7. The Saint--61
8. The Chronicles of Riddick--58
9. Spawn--54
10. Blow--52

Despite his regular employment in highly commercial genres like thrillers and superhero stories, Revell has seemed to develop a lower profile in recent years, probably due to the box-office failure of several of his assignments (such as the remakes of John Carpenter's The Fog and Assault on Precinct 13). His first two projects of 2008, the horror film The Ruins and the urban cop thriller Street Kings fit into this pattern and did only modest business, but he managed to break out of his usual typecasting to a certain degree with Pineapple Express. While Revell's music tended to emphasize the action-thriller elements, having his name on a film that is largely viewed as a comedy (one of his few in the genre) may finally change the limited perception that Hollywood seems to have of him.

WHAT'S NEXT: Days of Wrath


38. RACHEL PORTMAN

2008 RANKING: Not ranked
AGE: 48
BIRTHPLACE: Haslemere, Surrey, England
REP:  Kraft-Engel
1 OSCAR, 3 NOMINATIONS
2 EMMY NOMINATIONS
2 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES:
The Cider House Rules, Chocolat
RELATIONSHIPS: Douglas McGrath 
BACKGROUND: Oxford, British TV composer
FAN FAVORITE: The Cider House Rules 
TYPECAST IN: Women's stories
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Chocolat--71
2. The Manchurian Candidate--65
3. Mona Lisa Smile--63
4. The Cider House Rules--57
5. The Lake House--52
6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2--44  
7. To Wong Foo--36
8. Addicted to Love--34
9. The Joy Luck Club--32
10. Because of Winn-Dixie--32

It is a little shocking that there are still so few women scoring feature films, and even a composer as acclaimed as Portman -- an Oscar winner and three-time nominee -- is almost inevitably typecast as a composer of women's films. Fortunately, so-called "women's films" cover a variety of subjects, settings and time periods, as Portman's most recent projects demonstrate. With its A-list stars (Jessica Lange, Drew Barrymore), the quasi-remake of the cult classic documentary Grey Gardens seemed a natural for a feature film release but ended up on HBO instead, with Portman's music earning her a second Emmy nomination. Her two features released in 2008 both focused on young women and their romantic and personal issues, but were otherwise quite distinct from each other. The true-life period drama The Duchess may have done unimpressive business in the U.S., but Portman's music had enough impact that the film's Oscar-winning costume designer acknowledged her contribution at the awards show, even pointing out that the music that accompanied him to the stage was not actually hers. Her other film, the sequel to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, was a modest success and showed how well the music of a classically trained composer could fit with contemporary pop-rock.


37. PATRICK DOYLE

2008 RANKING: 35
AGE: 56
BIRTHPLACE: Uddingston, Scotland
REP: Air-Edel
2 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES:
Sense and Sensibility, Gosford Park
RELATIONSHIPS: Kenneth Branagh, Regis Wargnier, Emma Thompson
BACKGROUND: Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, actor, stage composer
FAN FAVORITES: Henry V, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
TYPECAST IN: Youthful fantasy
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire--289
2. Eragon--74
3. Bridget Jones's Diary--71
4. Nim’s Island--48 
5. Nanny McPhee—47
6. Sense and Sensibility--43
7. Gosford Park--41
8. Secondhand Lions--41
9. Donnie Brasco--41
10. Dead Again--38

The Goblet of Fire may have been (at least, so far), Patrick Doyle's only score for the still lucrative Harry Potter series, but it had an impressive effect on the assignments he receives, as he continues to be typecast as a composer of juvenile adventure. Last year saw the release of Nim's Island, a sort of teen-girl Romancing the Stone teaming Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin with grown-up stars Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, proving to be one of Doyle's higher grossing efforts. The cartoon horror comedy Igor was one of the lower-grossing animated features in recent years, but though Doyle's latest collaborations with his principal director, Kenneth Branagh (As You Like It, Sleuth), came and went with little fanfare, they are set to re-team on a project which should increase the profile of both artists -- the comic book superhero adventure Thor.  

WHAT'S NEXT:   Thor, Main Street


2008 RANKING: Not ranked 
AGE: 50
BIRTHPLACE: Glasgow, Scotland
REP: First Artists
1 GRAMMY NOMINATION
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES:
Moulin Rouge, Ray
BACKGROUND: Royal Academy of Music, pop songwriter/arranger   
FAN FAVORITES: Moulin Rouge, The Incredible Hulk  
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. The Incredible Hulk--134 
2. Ray--75
3. World Trade Center--70
4. The Bone Collector--66
5. Love, Actually--59
6. Moulin Rouge--57
7. William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet--46
8. Must Love Dogs--43
9. Fever Pitch--41
10. Kiss of the Dragon--36

Much of Armstrong's feature output had been in either serious drama (Ray, World Trade Center) or romantic comedy (Love, Actually, Must Love Dogs), so it was a surprise when he took the assignment of scoring The Incredible Hulk. The film, while not a Dark Knight/Iron Man-scaled blockbuster, was a box-office success, and Armstrong took a more traditional big action movie approach than Danny Elfman had used on Ang Lee's earlier Hulk movie. Armstrong will follow Hulk, his highest grossing film by far, with a scoring challenge any orchestral composer would appreciate, the all-star remake of Ray Harryhausen's final film to date, Clash of the Titans.

WHAT'S NEXT: Clash of the Titans 


35. RAMIN DJAWADI

2008 RANKING: 37
AGE: 35
BIRTHPLACE: Duisberg, Germany
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz
1 EMMY NOMINATION
1 GRAMMY NOMINATION
RELATIONSHIPS:
David S. Goyer
BACKGROUND: Musician in Germany and Boston, music studies at Berklee College of Music, Media Ventures, additional composer for Klaus Badelt
FAN FAVORITE: Iron Man
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Iron Man--318 
2. Open Season--84
3. Blade: Trinity--52
4. The Unborn--42 
5. Mr. Brooks--28
6. Fly Me to the Moon--13   
7. Deception--4 

Iron Man was not only one of 2008's biggest box-office successes but a critical hit as well, as reviewers appreciated the film's dry wit and the performances of its stellar cast. With so few major credits to his name, Djawadi was a surprising choice for the project, but the filmmakers supposedly wanted someone who would bring the currently popular Zimmer approach to the music, and while the end result may not rank among the classic superhero scores like Williams's Superman or Elfman's Batman, his music managed to fulfill its dramatic duties while staying true to the Zimmer influence. The success of Iron Man makes it puzzling that Djawadi hasn't received more similarly high profile assignments -- his other recent films were the 3D CGI kids movie Fly Me to the Moon and the flop erotic thriller Deception -- though he continues to work steadily, particularly with writer-director David S. Goyer on the horror film The Unborn and the new TV series Flash Forward.

WHAT'S NEXT:   Around the World in 50 Years 3-D, The Camel Wars


2008 RANKING: 31
AGE: 47
BIRTHPLACE: Luton, England
REP: First Artists Management
1 GRAMMY, 2 NOMINATIONS
RELATIONSHIPS:
Scott Rudin, Eon Productions, John Singleton, Michael Apted, Edgar Wright
BACKGROUND: Pop music producer
FAN FAVORITES: Stargate, Casino Royale
TYPECAST IN: Action
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Independence Day--306
2. Quantum of Solace--169 
3. Casino Royale--167
4. Die Another Day--160
5. Godzilla--136
6. 2 Fast 2 Furious--127
7. The World Is Not Enough--126
8. Tomorrow Never Dies--125
9. Four Brothers--74
10. Stargate--71

Arnold continues to balance the one-every-two-years Bond films with smaller and more offbeat projects. The latest Bond, Quantum of Solace, got middling reviews, particularly compared to the deserved raves for its predecessor, Casino Royale. However, as with each of the Bond films Arnold has scored, it managed to gross more in the U.S. than its predecessors, and while it was frustrating that he was not allowed to write a theme song and integrate it into the score, his contribution demonstrated again he's still able to adapt his approach to the continually changing demands of the series. His other recent major feature was a rare venture into comedy, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which made about 1 percent of Quantum of Solace's grosses, but at least demonstrated that Arnold can be effective in something outside of action-packed international espionage, and he recently dipped his toes back into the world of Bond by producing a new Shirley Bassey album.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


33. ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL

2008 RANKING: Not ranked 
AGE: 55
BIRTHPLACE:  New York City
REP: Gorfaine/Schwartz 
1 OSCAR, 4 NOMINATIONS
1 EMMY NOMINATION
2 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
1 TONY NOMINATION
RELATIONSHIPS:
Julie Taymor, Michael Mann 
BACKGROUND: Manhattan School of Music (under Aaron Copland & John Corigliano), concert and stage composer 
FAN FAVORITE: Interview with the Vampire 
TYPECAST IN: Crime drama 
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Batman Forever--184
2. SWAT--116
3. A Time to Kill--108
4. Batman and Robin--107
5. Interview with the Vampire--105
6. Public Enemies--97 
7. Heat--67
8. Demolition Man--58
9. Pet Sematary--57
10. Alien 3--54

Goldenthal has spent much of the decade working on his opera Grendel, a collaboration between his personal and creative partner, Julie Taymor, but this year saw a welcome return to mainstream film scoring, with a renewed collaboration with the director of one of his most popular films. Michael Mann's epic-length heist thriller Heat was only a moderate box-office success when it was released in 1995, but has only grown in popularity in the years since. Mann returned to his recurring theme of criminals and the men who pursue them with Public Enemies, a lavish docudrama about John Dillinger and Melvin Purvis, giving Goldenthal the chance to score his first thriller since 2003's SWAT. As with nearly every recent Michael Mann film, the director interspersed original scoring with songs and tracked-in cues from other films (including Goldenthal's own Heat), but when he was allowed to, the composer and his distinctive voice shined through, resulting in one of the year's few notable scores.  He reunites with Taymor for another promisingly outlandish Shakespeare adaptation, a new version of The Tempest with Helen Mirren as a female Prospero.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Tempest


32. ALAN MENKEN

2008 RANKING: 18
AGE: 60
BIRTHPLACE: New Rochelle, New York
REP: Kraft-Engel
BACKGROUND: New York University, off-Broadway and Broadway songwriter
8 OSCARS, 15 NOMINATIONS
6 GRAMMYS, 11 NOMINATIONS
1 TONY NOMINATION
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES:
Beauty and the Beast
FAN FAVORITES: Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted
TYPECAST IN: animated musicals
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. Aladdin ---217
2. Beauty and the Beast--145
3. Pocahontas--141
4. Enchanted--127
5. The Little Mermaid--111
6. The Hunchback of Notre Dame--100
7. Hercules--99
8. The Shaggy Dog--60
9. Home on the Range--49
10. Life with Mikey--12

Menken has stayed largely out of view since his well-deserved smash Enchanted in 2007, which earned him three out of the year's five Original Song Oscar nominations (the rules have since been changed to allow only two songs from an individual film to be nominated). Despite his popularity, Menken has never been one to pile up multiple assignments, and the type of elaborate song scores he composes can't be rushed out in a few weeks, so his next project isn’t due in theaters until next year, a Disney animated musical based on Rapunzel.

WHAT'S NEXT: Rapunzel
 

31. JON BRION

2008 RANKING:  Not ranked
AGE: 45
BIRTHPLACE: Glen Ridge, New Jersey
REP: Kraft-Engel
2 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
RELATIONSHIPS:
Charlie Kaufman, Paul Thomas Anderson
BACKGROUND: Rock singer-songwriter, music producer (for Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple)
FAN FAVORITES: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  
TYPECAST IN: Arthouse comedy-drama
TOP GROSSING FILMS:
1. The Break-Up--118
2. Step Brothers--100 
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind--34
4. Magnolia--22
5. Punch-Drunk Love--17
6. I Heart Huckabees--12
7. Synecdoche, New York--3  

Brion had two feature projects in 2008 that demonstrated the distinct sides of his scoring career. Step Brothers was a comedy hit that was even more mainstream than his previous entry in the genre, The Break-Up, and he managed to fulfill the musical needs of the film without falling preys of the clichés of contemporary comedy scoring. Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, may have only grossed $3 million (only three percent of Step Brothers U.S. grosses), but it was one of 2008's most original and inventive films, and Brion's score, including the moving original song "Little Person," was justly acclaimed. And to further demonstrate his versatility, he scored a Disney animated short in 2008 titled Glago’s Ghost. He currently has no feature projects lined up, though he did reinforce his image as a hip figure in Hollywood circles by playing one of the musicians whom dying movie star Adam Sandler jams with in Judd Apatow's Funny People.

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Comments (4):Log in or register to post your own comments
Randy Miller was the co-composer to LAST OF THE MOHICANS, not Mr. Edelman.

Randy Miller was the co-composer to LAST OF THE MOHICANS, not Mr. Edelman.

No, it was Edelman.

Randy Edelman co-composed Last Of The Mohicans. His music is by no means ground breaking, but he has written some highly entertaing scores. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Gettysburg, Come See The Paradise, Dragonheart, The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor, XXX, Anaconda, and his portion of Last of the Mohicans are a few.

DAVID ARNOLD

BACKGROUND: Pop music producer


?

Arnold's background was as a composer for Danny Cannon when the director was attending film school and prior.

Arnold's first credit as a "pop music producer" was along with three other producers (including Bjork and Danny Cannon) on The song PLAY DEAD for the movie The Young Americans, which Arnold scored.

Arnold released the Shaken Not Stirred album after he had won a Grammy for his filmscore work on ID4.

I'd love to see some concrete evidence of Arnold being "pop music producer" prior to film composing.

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