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 Posted:   Feb 9, 2021 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   Maestro Sartori   (Member)

Does anyone know the back story on this? I know Williams did Home Alone 1 & 2 for Columbus in 90 and 92, then later went on to do the first two Harry Potter films for Columbus. How did Doyle get attached for this film and then replaced? I've heard there are about 40 minutes of music that Doyle recorded.

Any thoughts?

I did a search here, and found only glancing mentions that Doyle did a score, but no further info.

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2021 - 3:35 PM   
 By:   judy the hutt   (Member)

if you check the internet, Stepmom music soundtrack doyle - filmtracks

"Director Chris Columbus made it clear at the time, interestingly, that a trusting relationship with his composers for each film is of paramount importance. He placed his trust in reliable British composer Patrick Doyle for Stepmom, who struggled through serious illness to write a heavily melodramatic score for the film. Unfortunately, Columbus didn't return the trust to Doyle. Film Score Monthly reported at the time that John Williams, after being delighted by an advanced screening of the film, used his reputation as muscle to push Doyle out the door. This is highly unlikely in its confrontational stance, but it's certainly possible that circumstances presented themselves in such a way that Williams' arrival was more than just convenient. Columbus had worked with Williams before (Home Alone) and would do so again (Harry Potter), and given Williams' open schedule at the time, it's hard to imagine why Williams wasn't originally assigned to Stepmom. Another head-scratcher is the tone of Williams' score; if Columbus and his writers were so intent on pulling the strings on the audience's emotions at regular intervals, then why not explore the more syrupy sound for a score? It seems that Doyle was perhaps simply reacting to what he saw on screen and writing music to match. Conversely, Williams' score is better tempered and possibly an attempt by Columbus to tone back the obviously overt emotions of the film. A score from the maestro hasn't been this restrained and conventional since the days of Stanley & Iris, The Accidental Tourist, and Always in the late 1980's."

Not sure I can believe that "John Williams, after being delighted by an advanced screening of the film, used his reputation as muscle to push Doyle out the door."

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2021 - 3:36 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Doyle wasn’t really rejected. He got sick (I believe it was some form of leukemia), and had to back down. So Columbus naturally turned to his old collaborator.

The “internet quote” above is just ridiculous, sensationalist nonsense. Pay it no attention.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2021 - 6:54 PM   
 By:   jamesluckard   (Member)

Doyle wasn’t really rejected. He got sick (I believe it was some form of leukemia), and had to back down. So Columbus naturally turned to his old collaborator.

The “internet quote” above is just ridiculous, sensationalist nonsense. Pay it no attention.


Doyle recorded a score that wasn't used in the film. Instead, a second score was recorded by Williams. Isn't that the definition of rejected?

Even if it was dropped because Doyle was ill and unable to make adjustments and record new cues, his original score was still rejected.

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2021 - 7:26 PM   
 By:   VeronicaMars   (Member)

Doyle wasn’t really rejected. He got sick (I believe it was some form of leukemia), and had to back down. So Columbus naturally turned to his old collaborator.

The “internet quote” above is just ridiculous, sensationalist nonsense. Pay it no attention.


Thor is correct. Doyle was suffering from lukemia and was writing the score while he was undergoing treatment at the time. He was devistated when the score was rejected after all he'd gone through which is a shame and just thinking about this makes me hate the movie even more. I've tried to watch it several times and I just turn it off about half way because it's so pretentious and off putting considering and thinking about Doyle was sick and Susan Sarandon's character is also sick in the film too. This movie makes Six Weeks with Dudley Moore look like a masterpiece.

I have no problem with John Williams replacing Doyle eventhough it is not one of my favorite scores of his but I can imagine Doyle's work being more in tune to feelings and emotions of the Sarandon character through his own personal experiences. I guess Sony and Chris Columbus felt the same way that it was probably way too dramatic so Columbus got Williams. But this begs the question, if Sony didn't trust Doyle at all, then why not just get Williams at any cost before even hiring Doyle at all.

It would be great to hear Doyle's score one day.

This also makes me think about what happend on The Patriot years later when Sony and Director Roland Emmerich saw that John Williams was available to score the film and immediately David Arnold who has started working on it was thrown out which destroyed Emmerich and Arnold relationship and have never worked together since.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 1:15 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Doyle recorded a score that wasn't used in the film. Instead, a second score was recorded by Williams. Isn't that the definition of rejected?

Even if it was dropped because Doyle was ill and unable to make adjustments and record new cues, his original score was still rejected.


Rejected, to me, means that there was a conscious decision to remove it because they didn't care for it. That was simply not the case. It was more practical, due to the illness and the logistics surrounding it. So 'replaced' is a better word, I think.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 3:06 AM   
 By:   jamesluckard   (Member)

Doyle recorded a score that wasn't used in the film. Instead, a second score was recorded by Williams. Isn't that the definition of rejected?

Even if it was dropped because Doyle was ill and unable to make adjustments and record new cues, his original score was still rejected.


Rejected, to me, means that there was a conscious decision to remove it because they didn't care for it. That was simply not the case. It was more practical, due to the illness and the logistics surrounding it. So 'replaced' is a better word, I think.


I've never heard the story firsthand from anyone involved in the production, so I don't know the details of exactly why Doyle's score was dropped. I've read multiple conflicting accounts online.

I'm not sure I really see the difference, in the end, between the terms "rejected" and "replaced," but if others do, that's fine.

Whichever term gets applied to what happened, Doyle composed and recorded a score for the film. The filmmakers subsequently decided not to use his score and dropped it entirely, in favor of a second, completely new score by Williams.

If the filmmakers had wanted to keep Doyle's score and just make some changes, surely someone from his team could have helped out with a cue or two, it has happened before. Dropping the score in its entirely and hiring a second composer suggests the entire score was deemed unsuited to the film, for whatever reason.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 3:12 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I've never heard the story firsthand from anyone involved in the production, so I don't know the details of exactly why Doyle's score was dropped. I've read multiple conflicting accounts online.

I have, from Doyle himself. Well, not in detail, but he confirmed that he had to bow out due to illness. I met him and interviewed him a few years ago, in Helsinki. While he talked about taking over from Williams on Potter 4, we didn't speak about STEPMOM in the interview itself. That was something that came up later in the evening, during social mingling.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 3:20 AM   
 By:   judy the hutt   (Member)

Doyle wasn’t really rejected. He got sick (I believe it was some form of leukemia), and had to back down. So Columbus naturally turned to his old collaborator.

The “internet quote” above is just ridiculous, sensationalist nonsense. Pay it no attention.


so you believe Filmtracks is ridiculous, sensationalist nonsense. Okay.

Actually I was just answering the question asked.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 3:26 AM   
 By:   jamesluckard   (Member)

I have, from Doyle himself. Well, not in detail, but he confirmed that he had to bow out due to illness.

It's entirely possible Doyle was being polite in the way he related the story. He always seems like a gentleman in interviews and doesn't seem like he would not want to disparage anyone he has worked with, no matter how unpleasant the experience was.

The fact is, however, that Doyle's score was recorded. If it only needed minor changes, others from his team could presumably have done that, or it could have been finessed editorially.

The fact that the entire score was dropped from the film suggests the filmmakers were unhappy with it to such a degree that they wanted a brand new score.

Perhaps they would have allowed Doyle himself to compose and record a second score, if his illness hadn't prevented it. That has happened a few times and is somewhat conceivable.

However, it seems far more likely that they simply chose to remove the score from the film and go to Williams instead.

Even if the film was altered radically due to editorial changes or reshoots, and his score no longer matched the picture, (which I don't believe was the case here) scores that are dropped for that reason are usually referred to as having been rejected.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 3:41 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Actually, Doyle is refreshingly honest in such cases (with a colourful language to boot!). And regardless, I'd rather take his own word - polite or not - over some of the bizarre conspiracy theories I've read, like the one quoted from Filmtracks above.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 3:56 AM   
 By:   jamesluckard   (Member)

Actually, Doyle is refreshingly honest in such cases (with a colourful language to boot!). And regardless, I'd rather take his own word - polite or not - over some of the bizarre conspiracy theories I've read, like the one quoted from Filmtracks above.

I'm certainly not endorsing any theories of the exact reason for the score's rejection, or how Williams came to be involved as Doyle's replacement.

But this is very different from a case where a composer only sketched out a few melodies, or did some synth mockups, and then left the production. Doyle composed his score, which was then recorded. Doyle's illness certainly didn't prevent that. After that, the score was entirely removed from the film and Williams composed and recorded a second score.

My only point is that it would have been possible, I would think, for Doyle's team, as integral as they were to his creative process, to have worked with the filmmakers to retain the score and make changes - adjusting cues or recording new ones, if the filmmakers had wanted that.

Doyle was not orchestrating or conducting any of his scores at that time. That was usually done by either James Shearman or Lawrence Ashmore. IMDB says the first score he helped orchestrate was Bridget Jones's Diary, three years later, and his only conducting credit there is La Ligne Droite, in 2011, which sounds about right to me, without checking the liner notes of all my CDs.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 4:03 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Sure, but it could be a matter of logistics too, i.e. that it was MORE work to repurpose what Doyle had written than to actually hire a new composer for a new score. There doesn't have to be any qualitative judgement involved, and hence the word 'rejection' doesn't sit right with me.

We just don't know, and I hate speculating like this. Untill a detailed story emerges from verified sources, I trust Doyle himself when he told me he had to "bow out due to illness".

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 4:19 AM   
 By:   jamesluckard   (Member)

Sure, but it could be a matter of logistics too, i.e. that it was MORE work to repurpose what Doyle had written than to actually hire a new composer for a new score. There doesn't have to be any qualitative judgement involved, and hence the word 'rejection' doesn't sit right with me.

We just don't know, and I hate speculating like this. Untill a detailed story emerges from verified sources, I trust Doyle himself when he told me he had to "bow out due to illness".


I get that we're kind of splitting hairs, but the terminology does seem important.

If reworking an existing recorded score to suit the filmmakers would require so much work and would be so complicated that it would necessitate an entirely new score, that would seem to be the definition of a rejected score.

And his quote, which seems politely vague, would probably lead most people to understand that he was hired, but was unable to ever compose and record the score, due to his illness. That wasn't the case.

Any minor changes to the score would have been much less work than the wholesale creation of the score, and his team should have been able to handle them.

The filmmakers clearly required a completely new score. Granted, I know there are a few cases of composers who were allowed to compose and also record multiple entire scores for films, but they're exceedingly rare, especially when you have a major studio footing the bill. The usual step is to go to a new composer.

Also, I don't think the film changed so much that his score no longer matched due to re-editing or reshoots. I interned at Sony the summer before the movie was released, and I remember reading the shooting script, and I'm fairly sure it was basically the same as the finished film.

The change seems to have been purely because the filmmakers decided they wanted substantially different music from what they already had on hand. They definitely got that with the Williams score.

Regardless of whether the term "removed" or "rejected" is applied, I think it's a shame that Doyle's score did not appear in the film, but the change did allow Williams to write a lovely score.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 5:42 AM   
 By:   brofax   (Member)

Speaking as a "neutral", not having seen the film nor heard either of the scores and having now listened to the "Prosecution" and "Defence" lawyers my conclusions are as follows.

1. Mr. Patrick Doyle was requested to compose a score for the film "Stepmom" which he did. He handed it over to orchestrator(s) to finish off and the score was then duly recorded.

2. We must assume that the director/producers actually listened to the score in order to decide if it was compatible with their film. Their official reaction to it is not in the public domain nor provided as evidence in this court.

3. Subsequently, another composer, Mr. John Williams, was hired to compose a brand new score and the film "Stepmom" was released with this new score attached thereto.

4. These facts confirm BEYOND ANY DOUBT that Mr. Doyle's score was REJECTED in favour of Mr. Williams's score.

5. The reason(s) for the rejection have not been clearly defined or explained but it is likely, but not proven, that the director/producers believed that the advance publicity of a "Music by John Williams" credit would carry more weight with the general public than "Music by Patrick Doyle". This is not to denigrate in any way Mr. Doyle's undisputed reputation as an excellent composer.

The following Rider is added to the judgment:
Bearing in mind what we know about Mr. Williams over a great many years it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that he "used his reputation as muscle to push Doyle out the door".





 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 9:16 AM   
 By:   AdoKrycha007   (Member)

Who cares, this is Williams' worst score since past 25 years.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 9:17 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

That is so sad that he rejected her. I'm glad she has come forward with her story.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Just because a score is not used, does not necessarily mean rejection. That's why years ago I had to delineate on my Rejected Film Scores website a section on the main lists page titled UN-USED, underneath REJECTED (and then a third main se3ction titled DEMOS).

The case may be for this film that the film was edited in such a way and/or new scenes filmed, that Doyle's score simply no longer fit and couldn't be editorially edited to shove in. He may have not been able/available because of illness to do new cues or may have declined altogether for what ever reason.

(And please, don't tell get into the discussion about more titled from REJECTED should be under UN-USED -- I move things as new info' comes to light; the site is always a work in progress. And YES -- it will be updated in the near-ish future, after a long delay in updates)

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 10:01 AM   
 By:   Totoro   (Member)

Wow! I just started to listen to Doyle's rejected score for STEPMOM when this thread show up!
What a coincidence!

Never liked Williams' score that much, not bad at all, but always sounded like something he did on autopilot and too pompous for the subject.

Doyle's score, in the other hand, sound very fresh and inspired.
It is not overly melodramatic like some sugested.
There is nothing wrong with the score, on the contrary, to me it is better than Williams'.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2021 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Oh, Totoro, please e-mail me.

 
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