For 'Horses," Stuart Settles The Score

This appeared in USA Today - November 17, 2000

"I see it as John Ford with mushrooms in his pockets," Marty Stuart says of his vivid score for All The Pretty Horses, Billy Bob Thornton's screen version of the Cormac McCarthy bestseller. The country singer's task was daunting. Thornton originally hired musician/producer Daniel Lanois, but Miramax balked at the result. Enter other composers, whose fine-tuning also failed to satisfy. A studio-director squabble ensued until Thornton enlisted longtime buddy Stuart, who first tweaked Lanois' music but ultimately wrote a fresh score. The film, due December 25, stars Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz in a "danged ol' cowboy movie that called for classic American sounds and, when it moves into Mexico, classic Spanish sounds," Stuart says. Inspired by Bernard Hermann's scores for Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, Stuart says film music "should be a pond that simply reflects what's on top. (Horses) needed a score that's undeniably elegant, but the guy in the pickup truck in Iowa should be able to whistle the melody the day after seeing the movie."

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