Wonder Woman‘s score – and in particular, the percussion-heavy leitmotif for the title character – are one of the many things that fans have praised the long-awaited big screen debut of the character. Composer Rupert Gregson-Williams reveals that he had difficulty in getting the soundtrack to one scene just right – and odds are, the scene that he’s referring to probably shouldn’t surprise you.
Gregson-Williams had an opportunity to speak with The Hollywood Reporter about the recording process for Wonder Woman, shedding light on the approach he needed to take to help give the movie a distinct voice:
I worked with Patty very closely before writing a note. Just spending a lot of time with Patty, getting to know the character from Patty’s point of view, it was a trust thing, really. She didn’t want me writing anything until she really knew I knew Diana. Because she’d been on this ride for a long time developing the movie and just wanted to make sure. She had the idea of this journey that Diana takes and there were a number of ways I could have gone about it. I could have made it more aggressive and more of this warrior princess — and Patty was keen I avoided that.
And it was incredibly important to Gregson-Williams as a composer that Wonder Woman’s big debut to the world of mankind reflected this more measured approach and emphasized her own journey in the “No Man’s Land” sequence. He describes the scene as being his favorite in the film and his biggest challenge:
That is probably in the movie one of the most iconic moments to me. It’s a great bit of filmmaking. But also, its the moment when she first understands some of the strengths she has as a superhero. If we picture her being a man, our protagonist is male, I imagine we might have gone about it in a more aggressive way. It might have been a little bit vicious. I loved the way that Patty directed this scene — this is wear Diana learns what she has. And it’s done from a defensive point of view for the most part until the end of the scene. Musically, I did write that scene three or four times before the version you heard. It was the most difficult scene for me to write, only because there were so many different ways of playing it. Patty was so patient with me, just persevered to make me understand the scene better and better until I nailed it. When you hear the music, it’s a building crescendo of emotion. Its’ a journey of understanding, rather than running across No Man’s Land and going to beat it up.
It’s not too hard to imagine that the only scene that required additional photography would give Gregson-Williams the hardest time to get just right, especially since – as he mentions in the interview – that he was there to prepare material with director Patty Jenkins well before the film’s editing process was locked. Ultimately, it seems as though the effort it took to get the scene just right paid off, as the film’s big action sequence stands out as one of the best-directed superhero battles in recent memory.
Wonder Woman is playing in theaters. Its cast includes Gal Gadot as Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Robin Wright as General Antiope, Lucy Davis as Etta Candy, David Thewlis as Sir Patrick Morgan, Elena Anaya as Doctor Isabel Maru (Doctor Poison), and Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff.