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Interview: Composer Carter Burwell on Music and ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’

Carter Burwell is one of the premiere composers in the business. That the industry took so long to give him his first Academy Award nomination was absolutely wild. However, now that he’s been nominated by Oscar, he’s been properly feted, except of course for a win. Over the years, Burwell has worked with a ton of A-list directors. In fact, Burwell has scored every Martin McDonagh film, with The Banshees of Inisherin being no exception. Last week, I spoke to McDonagh here and Barry Keoghan here, while earlier on this week brought a conversation with Ben Davis here as well as Kerry Condon here. Now, we wrap these interviews with Burwell!

This here is more of what I had to say about The Banshees of Inisherin out of the Toronto International Film Festival:

Filmmaker Martin McDonagh is at his least showy with The Banshees of Inisherin, but it’s in service of his most considered screenplay. The simple direction and lack of a “big” moment put the focus on the characters, which the script makes incredibly compelling. Everyone has personality here in spades, without it ever feeling quirky. McDonagh has a lot on his mind here, with no easy answers, either. That being said, for a movie that’s basically one big metaphor, it never feels like you’re being preached to, in the slightest.

Below, you can hear my conversation with Burwell. We discuss how he figures out the right music for a work, as well as what repeated collaborations with filmmakers generates for him. The focus is on The Banshees of Inisherin, of course, but we zig and zag to a bunch of different topics. It’s a fun chat, so be sure to give it a listen…

Here now is my interview with The Banshees of Inisherin composer Carter Burwell. Enjoy:

The Banshees of Inisherin is in theaters now!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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