Imaginary Heroes / 2004 Composed

# Title Duration
"It's Alright" - Peace Out feat. Chris Logan 3:26
Baby Hold On - Nina Khoury 3:42
Swimming* 3:03
The Big Smoke / Tim and Steph 2:35
"Baby Scratch My Back" - Slim Harpo 2:55
"Zungguzungguzunggazeng" - Yellowman 4:51
Waiting for Results 2:30
Another Day* / Sneaking Out / Looking for Ben* 3:57
Throwing Rocks / Waking Sandy / Nice Trailer 4:25
Tim's Song* 2:18
"The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" - The Postal Service 4:44
"Waterfall" - I-94 4:23
"Loose Your Mind" - Day and Night 3:13
"Feeling' Alright" - I-94 4:43

John's Thoughts

While working on the thematic ideas for Cellular, I was approached by Dan Harris, one of the writers of X-Men 2, to score his directorial debut, Imaginary Heroes. After reading the script I realized that this was certainly the kind of thing I’d been looking for: An intimate, simple dramatic score. When I saw the actual rough cut of the film, I realized Dan’s take on a family drama was a little, well, different than I imagined – in a good way; but it would require me tapping into my quirky side, which I have found is one of my strong suites. But at least I could blend those rye sensibilities within a heartfelt context for a change. And this is what I thought would make this film even more special – using a rye flair to offset any melodrama and bring out the poignancy in the film.

The frustrating part is that Cellular was revving up, and my time to commit to Imaginary Heroes was in jeopardy. Cellular kept having looming recording dates (only later to be pushed constantly), so I was afraid of committing to a friend’s movie, and not being able to spend the time on it I wanted to. But there was a theme in my head that popped in when I saw the picture, and I really wanted it to be part of the film somehow.

Given the kind of film it was, I tried to think who could take my thematic ideas and adapt them into an original score. Who would be right to cast in this role? The first person to come to mind was Deborah Lurie. Debbie had worked with me on Bubble Boy, wonderfully adapting my theme into a couple jazzy cues. She also had done some simple dramas in the past, and her music had the beautiful simplicity and emotional textures found in many Mark Isham’s films of a similar ilk. So Debbie and Dan had a meeting, and hit it off. They did look cute together!

I then mocked up a sort of overture to the film incorporating the major thematic elements for Debbie to draw from. Dan had mentioned he wanted there to be a waltz-like feel to the music, thus offering the quirky side of the score. The “overture” was really comprised of three themes – the main theme which becomes the main character’s own piano piece, a sort of reflective theme reflecting the sadness and pensiveness of the family, and a more swaggering version of the piano theme (characterized by English horn) offset by staccato flute and clarinet as a motif to be used in appropriate areas of the film. Debbie then took the ball and ran with the material in what turned out to be just a couple weeks to crank the score out.

Things were done in such a blazing fashion, that in the end, some of the thematic material was edited out of the final version of the film, in lieu of more atmospheric fare. But the CD contains most of the cues as intended, and is an enjoyable listen to Deborah Lurie’s take on John Ottman and the world of Imaginary Heroes.