‘Furiosa’ Composer Tom Holkenborg On His Approach To ‘Mad Max Saga’ Score: “Restraint Was The Way Forward” – Crew Call Podcast

When it comes to a George Miller directed Mad Max saga movie, actors are committed 1000% to the stunts, but composers are there too, for the long haul.

So much so, that Furiosa composer Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL moved to Sydney, Australia to pen the score, his third with Miller after Mad Max: Fury Road and Three Thousand Years of Longing. In fact, there’s a fine line between the metallic bang of motorcycles and trucks, and bass, and one of the arbitrators of that is Holkenborg who had a hand in sound mixing Furiosa.

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You can listen to our conversation with Holkenborg out of Deadline’s Cannes Studio below:

Holkenborg points out that when it came to the music in Furiosa, it’s character-driven given how it centers around the protagonist’s life from 8 to 18 years of age, versus Fury Road, which took place in a desert race of 48 hours.

“Musically, everything was being told from a first-person perspective, which is being her, how she, watches the world around her, The Wasteland, its cruelties,” the composer elaborates.

A key set piece in Furiosa are the 197 shots devoted to a big rig heist, a bulk of which doesn’t have music. The chords commence when we first learn of Furiosa’s role in the action sequence.

“Where there is absolutely silence, (it’s) one of the most powerful tools that you can have as a composer,” says Holkenborg, “The earlier composers and the earlier directors understood this really well.”

“George and I talked so much about certain classics like Bullitt with Steve McQueen or The French Connection with Gene Hackman, where there are chases in there where no score is being done for the majority of the scene, and then when it really, really counts, when something becomes really emotional or something gets really, really tense, that is when music is brought in to give that extra layer to an action sequence.”

“Restraint was the way forward,” explains Holkenborg.

Furiosa opened this weekend to $65.3M at the global box office. The movie received a near eight-minute standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere. The movie has high grades from Rotten Tomatoes critics at 90% certified fresh and audiences who gave it the same marks.

Deadline’s Cannes Studio Is Sponsored by NEOM.

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