The Frame | At home with composer Michael Giacchino: Playing with toys to write film scores

Two of the top movies at the box office right now have at least one thing in common: composer Michael Giacchino.

He’s scored “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “War for the Planet of the Apes.” He’s also scored just about every reboot and remake of his favorite movies from his childhood – from “Star Trek” to “Star Wars,” from “Mission: Impossible” to the Muppets. He’s essentially re-scoring his childhood, which, depending on your age, may mean that he’s re-scoring your childhood, too.

I visited with Giacchino in his Los Angeles home to find out how it is that he’s become the go-to guy for these, so called, “re-imaginings.”

“It’s weird to actually be in a situation where you look around, and that’s really all that’s being made around you, are these giant, sort of recreations of our past, in a way, or things we grew up with,” he said, sitting in his studio in the Valley. The walls are lined with cabinets full of toys and nostalgia. It’s kind of like stepping into the composer’s childhood — which is exactly what he does for a living these days.

“Planet of the Apes” held a special place in his heart.

“It was like one of my first obsessions as a kid and, I mean, I was obsessed. I watched the movies on television whenever I could catch them, because I was too young to see them in the theater. And then I would watch that television series, over and over. I had the action figures, which are still up here in my office, over there. I have sketchbooks where I would just draw the apes over and over and over. And I would follow my dad around in the supermarket walking like an ape, you know. And it was one of those things, I just always wanted to be in that world. I loved it.”

Giacchino scored “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” in 2014. During the scoring sessions for the new one, “War for the Planet of the Apes,” he set up the actual 1968 cardboard playhouse (see below) that he had as a kid.


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