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PREMIERE: Haunting Cue from Theodore Shapiro’s Score for ‘Destroyer’

Many of your favorite comedies of the past 15-20 years owe their scores to Theodore Shapiro, including Tropic Thunder, Idiocracy, Old School, Wet Hot American Summer, The Devil Wears Prada, and Spy. He’s also scored David Mamet films State and Main and Heist. But there’s a darker side to his oeuvre, as heard in horror films such as The Invitation and in upcoming Nicole Kidman-starring Destroyer.

“The Calling Card,” a haunting score cue from Destroyer, premieres here today. You can pick up the whole score on Friday via Lakeshore Records.

Destroyer marks merely the latest director-composer partnership between Karyn Kusama and Shapiro, who first started working with Kusama in 2000’s Girlfight, which starred Michelle Rodriguez. Their second foray was 2009’s excellent Jennifer’s Body, which starred Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried and has been recognized as a cult classic. In 2015 they came together for the brilliant The Invitation.

theodore shapiro - destroyer


In the film Destroyer, Kidman plays a police detective who reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace. According to the press release, the film touches upon “the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell, whose undercover assignment to infiltrate a California desert gang ended in tragedy. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past.”

Shapiro explained the intentions behind his score for Destroyer.

“The music for Destroyer comes first and foremost out of the character of Detective Erin Bell,” Shapiro says in a press release. “Guided by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi’s superb script, and through extensive conversations with [Kusama], we as a team began to wrestle with how to give a musical language to this profoundly complicated female protagonist.”

“We collaborated with four brilliant musicians to create a sound that is obsessive, animal, fierce, but also tinged with a layer of pain and regret,” Shapiro continued. “I wrote an hour of music before Karyn started shooting the film. So unlike the more typical sequence, in which the film is shot first and then the composer starts writing, Karyn had a library of original music to help inspire her during production, and then incorporate into the film as she edited. The result, through her brilliant direction and [Kidman’s] stunning performance… is something of which I’m deeply proud.”

The score comes out Friday, Nov. 16, in digital and CD formats from Lakeshore Records, but you can pre-order it right now on iTunes and the like. The Annapurna Pictures film releases on Christmas Day.

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