We chat with composer Guillaume Roussel about CBS’ Ransom…
French composer Guillaume Roussel is no stranger to composing crime dramas, having scored the first two seasons of NBC’s Crossing Lines starring Donald Sutherland and William Fichtner. So when he was approached by CBS to score their upcoming suspense drama, Ransom, he knew he was more than prepared for the job. Created by David Vainola (Combat Hospital) and Frank Spotnitz, Ransom is inspired by the professional experiences of crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert who, along with his partner Marwan Mery, are considered to be among the top negotiators in the world. With the show premiering January 1, we decided to speak with Roussel about working on the show and what fans should expect.
What attracted you to Ransom?
I love the fact that it was a co-production involving different sensibilities, which offers a chance to present something different from what we are used to hearing!
How involved was the creator Frank Spotnitz with the score?
He was very much involved. We worked very closely on the first few episodes to find the right tone and thematic material. We would play around with ideas at my studio. Frank likes fuller sounds, with melodic lines and orchestra. It allowed me to not refrain myself with something too atmospheric. We need space of course, but in some moments we like to unleash the beast!
Did you get to read the scripts before starting the score?
I didn’t. I was brought in at the same time as they were needing musical material in the editing room, so I had to start scheming right away.
What were some of the things you drew on in writing the music for the world of the show and characters?
I tried to find some instruments that gave light to the scene, while bringing simplicity and tenderness. These procedural shows can get very gritty and dark and I think everybody wanted to have something more human and nice in a way.
Do you have a favorite episode you have scored so far?
I really love Ep 11. There are a lot of personal heavy stories revealed and the whole episode is about psychology and is very interior. The music is very different from the rest of the show. It constantly evolves.
What has been your go to instrument so far for Ransom?
Instruments such as the Vibraphone, Udu, Lap steel, Marimba are really featured. It makes for a nice combination with the rest of the orchestration, bringing a fun and light feel as the team is working together.
How is it working with different directors? Do you find some episodes go a little smoother than others?
We usually don’t work with the directors on these series but with the show runners. Every episode is different, you never know when it is going to be smooth or not, it is always a surprise!
Did the show’s setting affect the score at all?
Oh yes! On big outdoor shots with a lot of police running around, the music can’t play in the same way as in an intimate room. Sound effects are always a parameter to consider too. Besides that, the sets are very realist and urban. They don’t necessarily stand alone as another character like some other shows such as New York in Jessica Jones. I would say the music is greatly influenced by new characters that are introduced on each episode.
Many thanks to Guillaume for taking the time for this interview. You can learn more about Guillaume at http://www.guillaumeroussel.com/.