Cut, Print, Next Shot

"Or, I'd have no, ah, integrity whatsoever": David Holmes stays choosy with film work.


We hear someone softly speaking in Italian, then...


The room is in slight disarray. Whoever is staying in the room has been here a while. A few room-service trays are stacked on a table. The bed is made, but rumpled. A lit cigarette rests on an overflowing ashtray on a nightstand. A half-empty can of lager is on top of a television, which is tuned to an Italian news broadcast and turned down low. A SLOW PAN finds...

DAVID HOLMES early 30s, bleached blond, unshaven, his tee shirt looking as though it had been on the floor a few minutes ago as he speaks quietly into a phone. If you didn't know he was a musician, you'd assume so anyway. The Irishman is perched on the edge of the bed as if he's ready to leave at any moment. Scattered behind him on the bed are a couple of DVDs Ocean's Eleven and Out of Sight and a few videocassettes Resurrection Man and a screener copy of Analyze That all of which he composed the soundtracks for.

A title reads: DECEMBER 23, 2002. ITALY.


Bit weird doing an interview at this sort of, uh, at this time. But . . . sure.

(Holmes laughs.)


Beats working for a living.

Holmes grabs the cigarette from the ashtray and crosses to the window. He parts the curtains just enough to see out and rests his head against the glass. We see what he sees: people on the street, some walking with purpose, others hailing taxicabs. The streetlights are just starting to flicker on for the night. The VOICE on the telephone snaps him out of it, and he returns to the bed.


Have you ever written a screenplay?


No, no, no. No.

Holmes stubs out his cigarette in the ashtray and reaches for the pack of Dunhills to fetch another one.


So you wouldn't ever wanna get into that side of things? Take the soundtracks a bit further, so to speak?


Like, yeah, I mean, I've thought about it, but you know, I'd rather just stick to what I'm good at. You know? There's a lot of people that don't stick to what they're good at, and they end up getting their hand sort of getting bitten, you know?

Holmes stands up again and begins pacing. He stops to check the half-empty lager can on the television, takes a swig, then continues his circuit around the room. He picks up a stack of CDs it's a selection of his non-soundtrack albums, including 1995's This Film's Crap, Let's Slash the Seats, 1997's Let's Get Killed and 2000's Bow Down to the Exit Sign, and they're all autographed. He stuffs them in a duffel bag.


I've seen the other side of what directing and writing and stuff sort of entails. And, um, as much as I admire the people who do it, I've really no interest in actually doing it myself. Yeah. I mean, I directed a music video for my band, and that was strenuous enough. But it was good fun.


Have you turned down much soundtrack work?


Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, if I did every job I was offered, I'd be I'd be dead. Or, I'd have no, ah, integrity whatsoever. I just try to be careful what I do. I mean, there's a million reasons for doing a movie soundtrack. Um, but I just sort of try and be very careful what I do.

(Holmes yawns, but talks his way through it.)


It's gotta be a very, very enjoyable job or else you're gonna be in trouble, you know?


What made Analyze That one of the films you'd actually decide to do?


Um, several reasons. One was I have a really great relationship with Warner Bros., who I did, like, Ocean's Eleven with. You know, they just treated me really well when I did Ocean's, and I'd built up a very, sort of, you know, close friendship with them. Second of all, um, it was, like, a chance to work with De Niro.


"De Niro"

We ZOOM IN on the label to see that the song is by DISCO EVANGELISTS, Holmes' early partnership with DJ ASHLEY BEEDLE.



And I'm an admirer of Harold Ramis, you know. I think he's made some good films over the years, and he's written some good films. I was told that I could pretty much, you know, I wouldn't be sort of backed into a corner to make music that I wasn't comfortable with. 'Cause that's one of the things that scares me about doing films. Harold very much wanted to do something very different, something a bit cooler than the average score. It was too hard to turn down, really.


You talked about being backed into a corner. Since most of your films have been fairly big budget, have there been many times where you were asked to compromise?


I mean, I mean, you have all these discussions before you go into the studio, before you can say, yeah, you're gonna do it. You know what I mean? You know, my plan now is to diversify and to do different things.

(Holmes lights yet another cigarette.)


Um, like, I've got a couple of projects lined up this year. Both are taking me away from that Ocean's Eleven, kind of Out of Sight, Analyze That sound. Even though those are three very different soundtracks, they're still pretty, sort of, you know, they've got that cool, sort of hipness about them. Where I'd like to just do something a bit more experimental and darker and a bit more minimal. More electronic and more sort of adventurous. I don't believe in just, ah, flogging a dead horse or milking something until it's dry. I don't think you can have any longevity or a career through that. I just wanna focus on actually making really good music. Focus on being much more diverse in my work, rather than just doing the big-money jobs. It's weird, like, how my career . . . I ended up just . . . you know, I did an independent film called Resurrection Man, and then I did Out of Sight. Then I did this movie called Buffalo Soldiers with Joaquin Phoenix and Ed Harris, which hasn't come out yet. Then I did Ocean's Eleven and Analyze That, you know? I suppose I got somewhere really big and accessible very, very quickly. I've got, ah, I suppose, Steven Soderbergh to thank for that . . .


What was your working relationship with Soderbergh like on the two movies?


It was really good. I mean, a lot of the work that we did on, say, Ocean's Eleven, we did before actually going into the studio. Planning things, getting ideas together, talking about the styles and the moods and the tempos and stuff. By the time we came to actually going into the studio, it was a matter of just go ahead and enjoy yourself. He lets you create and enjoy yourself. He understands what it's like. He understands how to treat another artist. And through that, you get the best work.

(Holmes stubs out his cigarette and lies down on the bed. He suddenly remembers the point he was trying to make before the interviewer interrupted him. He sits up, excited.)


But it puts me in a good position, because I'm in a position where I can. You know? I put the word out that I do wanna do lower-budget films. If I had to work on big Hollywood budgets for the rest of my life, I think it'd be very depressing.

Holmes falls back onto the bed. He points an imaginary gun to his temple and pulls the trigger. We PULL IN TIGHT on Holmes' face, which now sports a sad grin. He winks as "A Little Less Conversation" comes up loud on the soundtrack.


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