Randall Kleiser on Basil Poledouris

An Interview with Randall Kleiser by Rudy Koppl / Edited by Randall Larson
Originally published in Soundtrack Magazine Vol.16/No.64/1997
Text reproduced by kind permission of the editor, Luc Van de Ven and Rudy Koppl

Randall Kleiser

How did you meet Basil?
Basil was a classmate of mine at the D.S.C. film school. We were both studying directing and were working on each other’s films as crew members. I even played a corpse in one of his student films!

What films has he scored for you?
He did BLUE LAGOON, SUMMER LOVERS, WIDTE FANG, and IT’S MY PARTY.

Do Basil’s film scores satisfy your vision as a filmmaker?
Yes. I think he’s very easy to work with and I really enjoy working with him. He’s willing to try anything and my most fun part is working with him at the piano. This is where I can say, “Let’s try that theme,” and we pick out themes and talk about where they’d be used, rather than just handing him the movie and saying “Go do it”.
On IT’S MY PARTY, which is my favorite one, it was just Basil at the piano. I remember that every time I’ve worked with him we started out at a piano and he would play the themes. I found them so effective that when I heard them done by a big orchestra it really was not that much more amazing than the first time on the piano. So I thought on IT’S MY PARTY, which was a low budget film, that we would just stick with his first instincts at the piano and use that. It worked out great.

How is Basil’s approach to scoring your films different than other composers you’ve worked with?
I work much closer with Basil than any other composer because we know each other so well. You can get in there and actually talk to him about making a phrase more minor versus major or things like that.
With other guys I’ve worked with they generally just show up with stuff. I don’t really get together with them that much because they don’t seem open to that.

What do you find unique about Basil?
He’s a very emotional person and I think it comes across in his music.

Would you hire him again?
If I could afford him I would, yes. It depends on what movie I’m working on. I’ve been doing some low budget films recently and the one I just finished I didn’t even ask Basil to do the score because I knew the budget couldn’t afford him. He’s extremely good, but I didn’t want to ask him to do me a favor again. He did a great favor for me on IT’S MY PARTY and did the score for one dollar, recorded all on a piano. He was really showing me how much he cared about my project. He knew I didn’t have any money, so he did it as a favor.

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