By Vicky Bennett / GMS Administrator
This month we spoke to Music Supervisor, Becky Bentham, who has previously worked closely on Judy, Bohemian Rhapsody and Mamma Mia (to name a few)! to delve deeper into her work on the recently released film, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
If you have already watched this film, I know many of you can agree that it gave us all an excellent taste of what we missed out on when the Eurovision Song Contest was inevitably and sadly cancelled earlier this year in May.
Vicky: What drew you into working on the music supervision for this film?
Becky: The draw was a combination of things: Eurovision, Will Ferrell, David Dobkin, Netflix, the huge musical content and ambition for the music, the requirement to be on board from script stage through final delivery of the film and soundtrack album, supervising each stage along the way.
After initially reading the script, which scene did you look forward to working on the most?
Becky: The scene I most looked forward to working on was probably the medley. At script stage songs and performers hadn’t been decided so I was interested to help pull all this together.
I think we can all agree that this film gave everyone a much-needed taste of what we ended up missing out on this year, as the Eurovision Song Contest was sadly and inevitably cancelled due to the coronavirus.
— With this in mind, was the work for the film interrupted or disrupted by this, and if so, how did you work around this with other members of the music department to ensure the music supervision work was achieved?
Becky: Thankfully, any disruption due to Coronavirus was limited. We had completed shooting before lockdown and post was always due to happen in LA, so we were set up to handle things remotely and had already lined everything up to enter the final mix when lockdown happened, so from our end it was just a case of waiting for the outcome of final mix and calling in licences and handling any queries along the way. It all went very smoothly in the circumstances.
Knowing that the main vocals of Rachel McAdams’ character, Sigrit, are sung by Swedish pop singer Molly Sandén, how did you ensure both Rachel’s and Molly’s voices were synced up together and fine-fitted to picture so that the end performance is as believable as it can be?
Becky: It was important to record Rachel singing out, even when she was performing along to a track, so we could use that as a guide for sync later and to be able to grab her breaths and body movements for music editors to cut in where possible to add to the authenticity. Also to have the pre-recorded vocals available to her in good time, so she had time to study the nuances of the performances, to ensure she was as close as possible on the shoot days.
How closely did you work with the Directors and crew throughout production to ensure the music placed was what they wanted from a scene?
Becky: I worked very closely with the Director, David Dobkin, throughout. He was all over the music which was great for us and he is very tenacious, so when he had an idea we knew we needed to find a way to make it happen. We also collaborated closely with casting to match songs with performers and to cast acts ourselves in some cases.
What was your favourite scene to watch back when final mixing took place & what was your most memorable moment/highlight of working on this film?
Becky: My favourite scene to watch back was Double Trouble – the scarf and hamster wheel moment. It read well on the page and was hilariously executed by Will and Rachel on the day. My most memorable moments of working on the film are probably the first day on set when Lars is in the bedroom with Mita. Not all content from the day made it into the final cut but there were some hilarious moments and it was great to see Will Ferrell at work. Also filming all the acts on the Eurovision stage – Savan Kotecha was behind the songs and they worked so well and the acts were great. All in all, this was a really enjoyable project to work on.
Thank you Becky for taking the time out to speak with us here at GMS!
You can stream Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga now on netflix!
Listen to the full soundtrack here: