Regardless of what you think of Babylon (and it was one of my ten favorite films of 2022), everyone has agreed that the original score from Justin Hurwitz is something special. Throughout his collaborations with filmmaker Damien Chazelle, Hurwitz has become one of the most acclaimed and popular composers in the business. From Whiplash and La La Land (which won Hurwitz an Academy Award for both Best Original Score and Best Original Song) to First Man and now Babylon, their musical pairings have been consistent highlights. With Hurwitz heavily in contention for another Original Score statue, I recently hopped on Zoom to chat with him about the wild new epic.
In my review of Babylon (found here), this is some of what I had to say about it:
Filmmaker Damien Chazelle lets it all hang out here, showcasing a big and bold style that adds more edge than we’ve seen from him since Whiplash. The most extreme and wild he’s ever been, the intensity of Whiplash, as well as the precision of First Man, gives way to something even more free-wheeling than La La Land. Here, he’s embracing the mess that was Hollywood’s good/bad old days, full of the sort of debauchery you don’t often see depicted in a mainstream movie. As always, it’s impeccably done behind the camera, with cinematographer Linus Sandgren and especially composer Justin Hurwitz as good as ever. Chazelle gets to indulge more than ever, which leads to a bloated running time and occasionally jarring tonal shifts, but the messiness of it all does feel notably intentional. He’s making a big ask, but he’s able to back it up in Babylon with sheer hutzpah and entertainment value.
Below, you can see my conversation with Hurwitz. We’d previously spoken during the year of First Man (I think), so we were fairly comfortable with each other, chatting before and after the cameras were rolling. In this discussion, however, I was keen to hear about his process, especially since he has spent much of his career with longtime friend Chazelle. It was a great talk, one that should only make you appreciate his score for Babylon even more…
Here now is my interview with Babylon composer and Oscar winner Justin Hurwitz. Enjoy:
Babylon is in theaters now!