Composer Andrew Lockington Talks The Space Between Us

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Composer Andrew Lockington Talks The Space Between Us
Posted by Wilson Morales

February 14, 2017

Currently out in theaters is the sci-fi romantic drama The Space Between Us, directed by Peter Chelsom and starring Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Carla Gugino, and Gary Oldman.

In this interplanetary adventure, shortly after arriving to help colonize Mars, an astronaut dies while giving birth to the first human born on the red planet – never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot – an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he’s never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl named Tulsa.

When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, Gardner is eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars.  But after his explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner’s organs can’t withstand Earth’s atmosphere.  Gardner joins with Tulsa on a race against time to unravel the mysteries of how he came to be, and where he belongs in the universe.

“Andrew Lockington in the recording studio.” Photo by Neil Parfitt

The musical score was composed by Andrew Lockington, whose scores has included Brad Peyton on ‘Journey To The Mysterious Island,’ ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ and ‘San Andreas,’ which starred Dwayne Johnson. His other credits also include Halle Berry’s ‘Frankie and Alice’,  and the Tom Hanks produced ‘City of Ember.’ recently spoke with Lockington about his emotional score that he added to ‘Between Us.’

How did you get involved with the project?

Andrew Lockington: I had seen a film that Peter Chelsom had done years ago when I was dating my actually. I was really moved by a) his storytelling and the emotion on his film and b) his use of music. I really liked the score and the score traces. I remembered saying her at the time that I would love to work with him or someone like that. Cut to a few years later, he and I had met around two or three years ago. He was prepping a movie and I was working on Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. We didn’t get a chance to work together but we really hit it off We had mutual love of different sorts of music. I had been looking for somewhere to work with him. Lo and behold this project came up and I had other connections to the film, knowing the heading of music at STX and being introduced to the producer. Everything came together and I got the opportunity to work on it.

Andrew Lockington Photo Credit Neil Parfitt

What came first to composing the music? Was it reading the script and knowing what to place or watching the film and knowing where the music would go?

Andrew Lockington: That’s a good question. For me reading the script is always a huge advantage because when you look at it on the page, the broader themes and the bigger brush strokes and what the music can do seem more apparent to me. I’m always looking for the big themes, not as much scoring individual themes, but seeing the larger interwoven themes in the story that maybe the dialog isn’t saying but underlying. It’s something the music can do that isn’t being done by the other elements of the storytelling. That’s my favorite. This film was a bit different. Often I use manuscripts and use themes and always writing ideas down, with this film, I found some interesting instruments instead and approached it that way. I was seeing the music that came out of those. I put all pre-conceived ideas to the side and found sounds and combinations of sounds in these eclectic instruments that sounded good and built it from there.

Most films usually have a theme that occurs throughout the film. With this film, where did you put the most concentration on, the beginning, middle or end of the film?

Andrew Lockington: The most challenging thing is the main theme on this film because it has to say so much. I call it the birth scene when Gardner is being born and even at the moment, while it represents his birth, it also involves the death of his mother at the exact same time. The theme then has to represent humor, his first love, his discovery of Earth as we know it and his realization that he is mortal and coming to an end. That was the biggest challenge and it spread throughout the film and it’s the main theme of the film. Because of that, I had to make sure that a) paid respect to all those different emotions and all those different themes and b) it didn’t tire itself out. it had to be presented in many different ways so that you, as an audience, internalized the music but you don’t grow tired of it or feel like you’re hearing the same thing over and over.

How important is the relationship with the director once the score is complete and changes need to be made?

Andrew Lockington: That’s an important part of it for me. Historically, I know a lot of composers use to go away and write the score and come back and present it to the director, producers and the studio. For me, having a director who’s ready to roll up their sleeve and get into the process and the discussion and the trial and error, it’s really important for me. I feel those are my successful scores. The ones where I can really spend some time with the director and get inside their head and get a sense of what their vision is for the story. By the time a composer is working with the director, you are starting to see the film come together and maybe there are elements of the storytelling that are left on the cutting room floor but the music can play a part to bringing life to it again in the product.

With as many scores that you have done, how difficult is it to not repeat yourself if you can catch it?

Andrew Lockington: You don’t want to repeat yourself. The only danger is doing it subconsciously. The fact that people have signature styles we all do it to a point because people can recognize your DNA or traces of it. That said, I’m attracted to projects that are different from anything that I have done before. After doing some of the family adventure films, there were a lot of offers of other ones and it was hard to find elements or angles that would give me a brand new take or allow me to explore a different part of music making. In that sense, I guess I’m always searching for something I haven’t done before. I want to create situations where you will be in an unknown place and having to develop new tools to get you where you need to go in the storytelling. I think I’m always looking for that. Hopefully that experience makes the scores have a unique element to them as well.

What are you working on next?

Andrew Lockington: I’m working on a film called Rampage with director Brad Peyton. It’s a Dwayne Johnson film and I’ve been lucky to score a few films (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, San Andreas) that he has appeared in. This will be the third time that I’m working with him and the fourth time that I’m working with Brad. I’m really excited about it. It’s a big monster film and Brad has an amazing take on it. It’s based on the video game from the 80s that a lot of people played. It’s my favorite thing to do, finding a brand new angle to do something original and interesting.

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