After 'Green Room' And 'Blue Ruin,' The Brothers Blair Keep Film Music In The Family Composers Brooke and Will Blair got some notice last year for their music for the cult hit Green Room, starring their brother Macon. Now they're scoring his directorial debut.
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After 'Green Room' And 'Blue Ruin,' The Brothers Blair Keep Film Music In The Family

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After 'Green Room' And 'Blue Ruin,' The Brothers Blair Keep Film Music In The Family

After 'Green Room' And 'Blue Ruin,' The Brothers Blair Keep Film Music In The Family

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Netflix film "I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore" mixes the gruesome and the goofy. How do you score a movie like that? For help, the directors turned to two of his oldest associates, his brothers. Tim Greiving has the story.

TIM GREIVING, BYLINE: "I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore" is Macon Blair's debut as a director. He's best known as an actor, having starred in "Blue Ruin" and last year's surprise cult hit "Green Room." For his turn behind the camera, Blair wanted to mash up the genres he loved as a kid.

MACON BLAIR: Trying to have a crime story co-exist with kind of a slapstick goofy comedy and have that co-exist with a kind of platonic romantic friendship-type story.

GREIVING: The film's protagonist is pushed over the edge after her house is broken into and her laptop and grandmother's silver are stolen. She enlists her oddball neighbor, played by Elijah Wood, to help her investigate.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE")

MELANIE LYNSKEY: (As Ruth) OK, we don't want any trouble. My computer was stolen, and this says that it's in there. I just want it back. There's no question. So can you get it?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) I can get these nuts (laughter).

LYNSKEY: (As Ruth) You can get these nuts?

ELIJAH WOOD: (As Tony) All right, tough guy, you had your chance.

LYNSKEY: (As Ruth) Oh, geez.

M. BLAIR: It makes perfect sense in my head to jump from something that's very absurd and broad and then within that same beat have it shift into something that's horrific and hard to look at.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE")

LYNSKEY: (As Ruth) Are you OK?

GREIVING: The director said after he screened rough cuts, it was clear those jumps were jarring for some people in the audience.

M. BLAIR: So we did go back and tried to sort of smooth the edges as best we could, and the music, the score in particular, was a huge part of that.

GREIVING: So he turned to the most reliable and cheapest composers he knew - his brothers, Brooke and Will.

M. BLAIR: We forced a family discount on them (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE" FILM)

GREIVING: Brooke and Will have played in rock bands, but they also soaked up the film music of John Williams and John Carpenter. They shifted into full-time film work when they got the chance to score "Blue Ruin" and "Green Room" and Will Blair says they were jazzed about working with their brother, in part because his movie is such a mash-up.

WILL BLAIR: Macon's ideas were very eclectic, just all over the place, without one genre or without one era of time or group of instruments.

GREIVING: Kind of like the mixtapes Macon made when they were kids.

W. BLAIR: He just had a variety of different things he wanted to try, and he sort of described these as members of this unusual orchestra that he was putting together. So he was very into the idea of a theremin to be used, not in sort of science fiction-y (ph) sort of way that we're used to hearing but in a spookier, almost horror movie sort of way to help establish the bad guys' theme.

(SOUNDBITE OF "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE" FILM)

W. BLAIR: And he was very excited about a saxophone to play more of, like, a Motown, R&B role to help with Ruth and her theme.

(SOUNDBITE OF "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE" FILM)

GREIVING: A lot of the score was improvised. Will and Brooke play all of the keyboards, organ, guitars and drums, as well as some other more unique instruments their brother specified.

W. BLAIR: He wanted human bodies, so there is some thigh smacking. There's heavy breathing. He wanted gang vocals.

GREIVING: Will demonstrates the brief sound they created.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE")

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Ha.

W. BLAIR: There's groups of up to - I don't know - 15-plus friends of ours and children of our friends, all different ages, sort of screaming at different points that we had to make sense of and fit into the score.

(SOUNDBITE OF "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE" FILM)

GREIVING: Will Blair says this cobbled-together approach fit the film's story of a vigilante figuring it out as she goes.

W. BLAIR: The arc of the movie itself is kind of improvised. Ruth is this amateur DIY detective not quite sure how to go about this mission that she finds herself in. And Macon sort of encouraged this jangly, off-the-cuff approach to the score.

BROOKE BLAIR: That's kind of what he wanted the whole time, was like, let's just go in and have fun.

GREIVING: That's Brooke, the middle of the three Blair boys.

B. BLAIR: You know, we may not get this opportunity again, the three of us to work on a film like this. So the idea was just to kind of keep it, like, the three of us jamming in a basement or something like we used to when we were kids.

GREIVING: For a lot of brothers, building something together in a confined space on a deadline would be a recipe for nuclear disaster. But Brooke says they don't have that problem - mostly.

B. BLAIR: We're really good at making up at this point (laughter). It's an art form at this point.

GREIVING: Mom and Dad are in the movie, too. And even though Mom doesn't love all the violence and bad language, she's very proud her boys are still playing together. For NPR News, I'm Tim Greiving in Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF "I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE" FILM)

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