In Contention


Clint Mansell scoring ‘The Iron Lady’

Posted by Guy Lodge · 7:16 am · July 22nd, 2011

I’ll level with you, folks: there are a lot of prestige titles coming out in late 2011 that I’m itching to see, and “The Iron Lady” isn’t one of them. Putting to one side concerns about Phyllida Lloyd’s filmmaking prowess — I thought her ill at ease with the medium in “Mamma Mia!”, but she’s an accomplished theater director and everyone deserves a second chance — Margaret Thatcher’s story requires ambiguity and incisiveness in the telling (and playing) to avoid predictable rhetoric, and the margin for error is a fine one.

That teaser trailer released a few weeks ago wasn’t terribly illuminating: the writing is jokey, while the flash of Meryl Streep’s performance hints at “Julie & Julia”-scale broadness, but it’s altogether too brief and context-free to offer a sense of the film’s overall tone.

Indeed, the most intriguing thing about the trailer is the unexpected use of Clint Mansell’s brooding “Moon” score as accompaniment — and as it turns out, there was more to that particular choice than initially met the eye. A reliable first-hand source informs me that Mansell is on board to score the actual film, which adds some lustre to a respectable but slightly unsexy list of below-the-line contributors.

Mansell — the former rock musician best known, of course, for his rich, adventurous collaborations with Darren Aronofsky — may carry a certain cachet of black-edged cool, but it’d be a mistake to make any assumptions about the film’s approach based on his presence: after all, his CV also features such lightweight projects as “Definitely Maybe” and “The Rebound.” My source, however, claims Mansell has some “exciting” ideas for the film. In any event, his name is a welcome extra reason to anticipate “The Iron Lady,” and another one to add to the list of Best Original Score possibilities.

[Photo: The Telegraph]




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→ 27 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

27 responses so far

  • 1 7-22-2011 at 9:32 am

    red_wine said...

    I find Mansell to be devoid of any real talent and exceptionally second rate.

  • 2 7-22-2011 at 9:42 am

    Sawyer said...

    You’ve obviously not seen The Fountain or Requiem for a Dream. Otherwise there would be no excuse for your comment.

  • 3 7-22-2011 at 9:43 am

    Sawyer said...

    Easily my favorite composer working today.

  • 4 7-22-2011 at 9:45 am

    red_wine said...

    I have indeed seen Requiem For A Dream.

  • 5 7-22-2011 at 9:54 am

    carrie said...

    he’s my fav and i even have a CD of POP WILL EAT ITSELF (his rock band from 80′s-90′s)that i discovered through Nine Inch Nails

  • 6 7-22-2011 at 10:15 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    If Mansell is devoid of any real talent, I guess I wasted £40 on one of the loveliest recitals I’ve ever been to. Hearing him play The Fountain score live gave me gooseflesh several times over.

    To each his own.

  • 7 7-22-2011 at 10:35 am

    Sawyer said...

    That would have been an experience Guy. Truly envious.

  • 8 7-22-2011 at 12:44 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Gooseflesh sounds gross.

  • 9 7-22-2011 at 2:26 pm

    med said...

    I think a film with two Oscar winners (Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent) and an original score by Clint Mansell at least deserves a chance.

  • 10 7-22-2011 at 2:38 pm

    Maxim said...

    “Putting to one side concerns about Phyllida Lloyd’s filmmaking prowess — I thought her ill at ease with the medium in “Mamma Mia!”, ”

    Even if I agreed (which, I don’t – as I’ve stated before I think that her direction was one of the reasons the movie was so successful) isn’t it a bit harsh, considering it was just her first film?

  • 11 7-22-2011 at 3:01 pm

    average joe said...

    The Fountain is my favorite score of the 2000s and one of my top ten favorite of all time, period, so saying that I disagree with red_wine would be an understatement, haha.

    I’m with you on this one Guy; I’ll stay away unless the reviews are ecstatic.

  • 12 7-22-2011 at 3:25 pm

    Antonio A said...

    Great news, I love his music. He did a great job recently with the score of “Last Night”, I hope someone releases it in the future.

  • 13 7-22-2011 at 3:45 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Maxim: Did you miss the second half of that statement, when I say everyone deserves a second chance?

  • 14 7-22-2011 at 3:50 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I think Clint Mansell’s work in The Fountain was Oscar-worthy. Glad that The Iron Lady has a little more clout with Mansell aboard.

    Can we have a Tell Us What You Thought of ‘Captain America’ thread? :)

  • 15 7-22-2011 at 3:57 pm

    Maxim said...

    What does saying that “everyone deserves a second chance” have anything at all to do with me arguing that the first part of the statement was harsh?

    Also, do you want to pretend that proclamations of that sort (a backhanded way of softening a critique if I ever saw one) makes it any better?

  • 16 7-22-2011 at 3:59 pm

    Maxim said...

    JJ1, I completely agree and sincerely hope that Clint doesn’t become another Academy blind spot like Carter Burwell.

  • 17 7-22-2011 at 4:20 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    It’s a statement that allows for the fact that it was her first film. And I hardly think expressing the opinion that someone seemed “ill at ease” with a new medium is unduly harsh.

    Oh, never mind. This is what you enjoy doing.

  • 18 7-22-2011 at 5:12 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “the flash of Meryl Streep’s performance hints at “Julie & Julia”-scale broadness”

    I can’t stand Meryl Streep, but I appreciate her J&J performance. On an unrelated note Guy, Kathy Bates was flat out the worst thing in Midnight in Paris. Hammy is usually something amusing at times to watch an actor do — this wasn’t hammy — this was miscasting without any direction.

  • 19 7-22-2011 at 5:59 pm

    Maxim said...

    Loved Bates, personally, though I absolutely adored Brody.

  • 20 7-23-2011 at 2:42 am

    Adam Lewis said...

    Shame it wasn’t Desplat who got to score this as he seems to be the master of politico/bio films ala The Queen and The Special Relationship.

    As for the film, it’s at the top of my must see list – can’t wait! I agree with Guy that Streep is doing Julie and Julia with a British accent but as I list that performance as her very best and my favourite I don’t mind! Not being British I don’t have the love her or hate view that the English all seem to have which seems to be influencing some people’s views on the film.

    Definitely can’t wait til January to see it!

  • 21 7-23-2011 at 7:12 am

    James R. said...

    There’s only one movie soundtrack I listen to regularly. That would be the fountain. So chalk up another huge supporter for Mansell.

  • 22 7-23-2011 at 8:45 am

    The Other James D. said...

    I abhor The Fountain as a film, but found the score to be its primary saving grace. (The direction and cinematography were good as well.) And it was a shame he didn’t get a nomination over that abominable [i]Babel[/i] win.

    But maybe “selling out” (lol, people love saying this) to score what looks like a tacky biopic may be just what Mansell needs to do in order to obtain the nomination that has eluded him for so long.

  • 23 7-24-2011 at 3:12 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Just curious: can you really “abhor” a film that is as comprehensively a single (and singular) directorial vision as The Fountain — but still like the direction? Are the film and its direction not inextricable in this instance?

  • 24 7-24-2011 at 3:23 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    I feel as though I can, separating the directorial work from the overall product (including the acting and writing–neither of which I was impressed by, especially not the overwrought performance by Jackman). But I thought Aronofsky took it to a visceral apex, assisted by the fantastic imagery and magnificent score. So I appreciate his efforts in that regard.

  • 25 7-24-2011 at 3:51 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    But you still abhor the film? That’s such a strong word — I’m curious to know what it is about the film that arouses such hatred, as opposed to mere disappointment or dislike, when you still admire so much of its construction. Not goading or criticising — I’m genuinely interested, since yours is an unusual response.