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Danny Elfman, the film composer behind 'Real Steel' and nearly all of Tim Burton's films, has withdrawn from such duties on 'The Hunger Games.' Originally, Elfman was pegged to score the film in an interesting collaboration with musician/songwriter/producer T-Bone Burnett, who provided the music for the likes of 'Crazy Heart' and 'Walk the Line.' But it appears that Elfman will now have to depart the project due to scheduling conflicts; T-Bone Burnett is remaining onboard. So who will Lionsgate choose to replace Elfman? Turns out they have already given the job to James Newton Howard ('The Dark Knight,' 'King Kong'). 'The Hunger Games'is currently in post-production with a release date set for March of next year, so Howard is going to have to work fast.
As much as I like Danny Elfman, I don't necessarily believe 'The Hunger Games' will suffer from the absence of his trademark style. Obviously he's scored plenty of films outside of his collaborations with Burton so he's not locked in to one musical signature, but James Newton Howard has created some phenomenal action scores with a razor-sharp, dark edge, his 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight' scores leaping immediately to mind, that I think may benefit a film like 'The Hunger Games'far more. However, the time crunch here is a bit disconcerting. An artist working under the gun in any medium runs a much greater risk of creating something less than spectacular in favor of meeting the tight deadline. But maybe Howard thrives on pressure, it's hard to say.
What do you guys think? Are you encouraged by Howard's hiring or are you upset over Elfman's exit?
'The Hunger Games'rolls into theaters March 23, 2012