British Director Creates the Sound of Judge in DREDD

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2000 AD’s DREDD explodes onto the big screen, with BAFTA-winning British composer Paul Leonard-Morgan (Limitless, Spooks) creating the sound of Mega City One’s feared Judge…

I wanted to create a sound which fitted a future set in 100 years time, so traditional orchestra was out of the question.

DREDD starring Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Supremecy, Lord Of The Rings), Olivia Thirlby (Juno) and Lena Headey (Game Of Thrones).

Written by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine) who also produced the film alongside Andrew Macdonald (Sunshine, Trainspotting) and Allon Reich (Never Let Me Go), DREDD was directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point).

After completing work on the soundtrack to DREDD, composer Paul Leonard-Morgan cannot wait to see it in 3D. “The cinematography is stunning. Using a unique camera which filmed at about 10000 frames per second, they created some breath-taking visuals. It is going to be truly mind-blowing in full 3D”.

Leonard-Morgan was already familiar with the Dredd Character “I was never a huge comic fanboy, but I grew up with Dredd. He’s such an iconic character. He also scared the sh*t out of me! Dredd is one bad-ass mofo, he sees things in black and white. He’s not a traditional super-hero in the Hollywood sense, but more a mix of Robocop and Dirty Harry. He is dangerous and edgy”.

Leonard-Morgan’s soundtrack has already garnered positive reviews, with Variety commenting on it’s “throbbing bass-driven score”, and others comparing it to the groundbreaking scores of John Carpenter.

“From a music point of view, I wanted to create a sound which fitted a future set in 100 years time, so traditional orchestra was out of the question. I started off doing some band-based stuff, but it felt too safe and overly-produced, so I ended up going down a really electronic vibe - taking all my 80’s synths and present day sound modules, creating some really screwed up sounds and putting them through countless distortion and fx pedals. I was looking to create a timeless score which couldn’t be placed in any particular era. So it’s ended up being a cross between a modern dance track and evocative soundscapes.”

For the slo-mo music, I used this incredible new timestretch software called Paul. I composed and recorded new tracks with real instruments, and then slowed them down by thousands of percent to match the vibe of the visuals, adding some realtime score over the top of it. So 1 second of written score could end up lasting 10 minutes. It sounds weird, but it creates some truly beautiful sounds. Really ethereal. It takes you to a completely different world. Getting to do experimental things like this in a film score isn’t something that happens every day, so it was really exciting pushing back the boundaries.”

Paul Leonard-Morgan is best known for his score for last year’s box office No 1 hit Limitless starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist). This soundtrack earned him a nomination for the prestigious World Soundtrack Discovery Award. Previously he had been the composer for the BBC’s award-winning drama Spooks (MI5 in the US).

Leonard-Morgan is currently working on The Numbers Station starring John Cusack and Malin Akerman.

Dredd hits cinema screens in the UK on 7th September.

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Jo Fernihough
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