John Ottman Speaks On Working As An Editor And Composer For X-Men: Days of Future Past Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.22.2014
In an interview with Coming Soon, John Ottman spoke about pulling double duty on X-Men: Days of Future Past, working as both an editor and composer. Here are highlights:
On which job he enjoys more: "I prefer doing film scores, yeah. I can wake up and stay in my bathrobe. Do two or three months on a film. Spend some time in-between. Make some residuals, which editors don't make. However, having said that, after I do that for awhile, I do feel the itch for having control over something. It's funny. Film composers used to be these luminary figures that would descend from among the clouds and do a movie because there was a huge amount of respect given them. Now that you have Garage Band and your neighbor's son has a synthesizer at home, I think the value of a good composer is basically in the same category as craft service these days. (Laughs) That can be frustrating and when I'm the editor of a film I feel like I'm in control of something. I can make something that I couldn't do as a composer."
On returning to the X-Men franchise: "Oh, yeah. It's definitely a homecoming for me and, I think, for Bryan. I look back very, very fondly on my experience with "X-Men 2." It was a very exciting time for me. It was a huge, huge movie to take on, but it was also a very pleasant experience. There wasn't a lot of studio interference on that film. Everything seemed to go relatively drama-free. I remember looking back very fondly upon it. In the process of doing that movie, I just became such an X-Men fan. I really hadn't been before. Up until I did "X-Men 2," I didn't really know anything about the characters. I started researching them and figuring out what their histories were. Just by that alone, I really got into it. Once I had invested myself as both the editor and the composer on that film, I just became immersed in that world. Then that combined with the actors playing the X-Men! I always said, "You could have Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen recite the phone book and it will be completely fascinating." Obviously, it was a no-brainer and I was excited for many, many reasons to go back to it."
On the scale of the film: "Well, that was pretty difficult and I knew it would be a problem. It was a massive task and we had to actually cut down some of those moments, which was particularly painful when there were characters that didn't get a whole lot in the first place. But, for the good of the movie and its pacing, we had to do it. We had to make some very painful cuts in that regard... There were certain points where we were kind of adding stuff as it went along and then it got to a point where certain scenes didn't make sense."