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The Music Of "Sucker Punch"
The conduit between Babydoll's life in the brothel and her escapist fantasies is music—Madam Gorski puts on a song, and Babydoll closes her eyes and is taken away, captivating everyone around her. Therefore, the "Sucker Punch” soundtrack had to convey exactly the right mood at every turn. Director Zack Snyder collaborated with Marius de Vries and Tyler Bates to compose the score and arrange and produce an eclectic collection of songs that would hit the right notes within the various realms of the story.

"I think one of the most powerful and important elements of cinema is the music,” Snyder asserts. "And because Babydoll accesses her fantasies through dance, the music in this movie was even more critical.”

"‘Sucker Punch'” is a very dream-like movie, with themes of escape and hope, and redemption through the imagination,” says de Vries, who worked with Snyder for the first time on this film. "The music had to have a strong connection with those themes. And in many cases, Zack wanted to use songs in place of score, so that the lyrics could help navigate the way through the complex scenes and illuminate Babydoll's state of mind. It was a really enjoyable challenge.”

Along with Bates, de Vries and Snyder chose evocative works that could be coopted into doing the job of a traditional score, but also remain recognizable as they conveyed both the action and the psychology of the story. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was given a sultry, melancholy arrangement, and was performed by Emily Browning, who also contributed to two other songs in the film.

In order to work with the actress between takes, de Vries brought a portable recording rig to the set and, as luck would have it, found a quiet space to work, that happened to house a piano. "It was a very distressed, out-of-tune, almost-unusable instrument,” he smiles, "but the first version of ‘Asleep' that we recorded was me playing that beaten-up piano, which turned out to have real charm in it. Emily's first few lines sung that day survived all the way through the postrecording and mixing process, and those opening lines are pretty much her first take on the song, so despite the difficult circumstances, we got great results.”

Another song performed by actors in the film is "Love is The Drug,” a duet by Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac, heard over the end credits. The movie also features the haunting, psychedelic `60s song "White Rabbit.” Both songs were written into the original script by Snyder and co-writer Steve Shibuya.

"When Zack first explained the premise of ‘Sucker Punch,' he talked a lot about the song ‘White Rabbit' as being one that he wanted as part of the film,” recalls Bates, who played guitar on the track. "So I had a chance to think about how that could work, and by the time he was shooting, I could see how he wanted it to develop, going from Babydoll's headspace into the mission of the fantasy. It starts out very ethereal, getting her into the mindset of the dance, and once the girls have their assignment, once they delve in with machineguns and other weapons, the song starts to bloom into this epic, rich, full orchestral choral fanfare.”

In addition to the headier numbers, the team selected some all-out rocking, pulsating tunes, including "Search and Destroy” and a mash-up of Queen's "I Want It All” and "We Will Rock You.”

"Everything we chose is in support of the action on the screen and in service of the themes that Zack wanted to get across with this movie,” Bates says.

"Music is such a key way of expressing bottled-up emotions,” Deborah Snyder notes. "And what Marius and Tyler brought to the film was exactly the quality and the feeling that Zack had envisioned from the start.”

"The girls in this movie kick ass, so the soundtrack had to kick ass,” Zack Snyder states. "I really wanted every aspect of ‘Sucker Punch' to feel unexpected—the look, the feel and the sound of what Babydoll and the others go through. I think that the music in this film turned out to be such a great surprise, and to really help tell the story in a way that only something as primitive and as much a part of the human experience as music can.”


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