THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Coldplay Catches Fire: The Music
When it came to setting Catching Fire's most monumental moments to music, the
filmmakers returned to the composer who created themes still fresh in audience's
minds from the first film: eight time Oscar nominee James Newton Howard. With
Katniss entering more nuanced emotional territory, Howard, too, explored new
shadings in his orchestral score. "The gorgeous score that James has written for
the film picks up the familiar themes, then carries them to new places," says
Francis Lawrence, who has collaborated with the composer before.
Adds Tracy McKnight, Lionsgate's Head of Film Music: "James really gets
inside the heightened emotions of this part of the story and has created an epic
score. He's so gifted that was able to capture both the deep intimacy and the
bold action that Catching Fire entails. We all felt very lucky to have him
Last time, Howard collaborated with songwriter and musical artist T Bone
Burnett. For Catching Fire, the filmmakers invited one of today's most popular
rock bands -- the seven-time GRAMMY Award winning British group Coldplay - to
write and record their first-ever original song for a motion picture. The result
is the end title song, "Atlas," which was penned specifically for Katniss, and
would ultimately become inspiration for themes echoed in Howard's score.
"I'm a huge fan of Coldplay so it was truly exciting for me to have this all
come together," muses Francis Lawrence. "I was simply knocked out by the
unbelievable song Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion
wrote. It could not fit more perfectly emotionally and thematically with Katniss'
journey and it has made for a beautiful note to end the film. We can't wait to
share this music with audiences."
Adds McKnight: "It was really a case of the stars aligning. We all felt
Coldplay could bring just the right sound for the end of the film, and then it
turned out that Chris Martin is a Hunger Games fan.
Everything came together so organically because Chris and the band already
had that connection to the story, and that led to something magical."
When the filmmakers heard "Atlas," they all knew something special had
occurred in the alchemy between subject and songwriter. "Everyone instantly
loved the song," recalls McKnight. "Like the film, it's about someone carrying
the weight on the world on their shoulders and yet it leaves you with a sense of
hope. And all that is carried by the beautiful piano, the gorgeous vocals and
that sense of dramatic build that we've all come to love from Coldplay."
McKnight -- along with music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas and Universal
Republic Record's executive Tom McKay -- was determined to have this second
soundtrack album represent wide-ranging musical impressions of what Katniss'
evolution as a person means to so many. Part of the fun she says was making a
"wish list" of artists and then, after approaching them, finding out that many
were already obsessed with the books.
"We found that artists of all ages and background have already connected so
strongly with these characters," she says. "Because of that, we had a real
opportunity to tell a musical story with this soundtrack, to touch on topics of
displacement, family, hope and that feeling you have when you might be a
catalyst for something but you don't yet know what. These are really inspiring
Weaving through genres and styles, the soundtrack features artists ranging
from Canadian R&B star The Weeknd, folk-rock roots band The Lumineers, Icelandic
pop band Of Monsters and Men, indie rockers Imagine Dragons and The National to
16 year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter sensation Lorde and rock legend Patti
"We didn't want to drive in one lane on this soundtrack - it's a multi-lane
highway," McKnight explains. "We wanted to tap into the universal nature of
music and create something that can play equally well with teenagers or fans of
any age. So it's many different sounds, yet they all feel true to the spirit of
the story. We also really wanted to go into the 'discovery zone,' - and we are
excited to have artists such as The Weeknd, an important, emerging artist who
wrote the most heart-wrenching song, and Lorde whose soul and depth beyond her
years really reminded everyone of Katniss."
Most of all, says McKnight, both the music and the score tie into the
overarching aim of Catching Fire: "I think every person who worked on this film
came to it wanting to make something that fans could embrace. That's been the
most fun - watching so many people, from the musicians to Francis Lawrence,
bring their passion for a story that we all love."
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