Composer Mychael Danna Adds Multi-Cultural Musical Colors to ‘Stillwater’ Score

A central theme in Tom McCarthy’s film “Stillwater,” reaching theaters this weekend, is that of culture clash: Oklahoman Bill Baker (Matt Damon) in southern France, visiting his imprisoned daughter (Abigail Breslin) and becoming involved with a French theater actress (Camille Cottin).That idea extended to the music, composed by Oscar winner Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi”).

Danna, whose specialty has long been the authentic application of world-music sounds into film scores, was an obvious choice “because it takes place in Marseille, which is a kind of multi-cultural melting pot,” he says.The challenge, however, was McCarthy’s direction that the music be “not too specific, culturally, but just the right amount of flavor — something you don’t notice, you just feel.” The intention, Danna says, was for the viewer to experience Marseille and its people “through Bill’s eyes.”Baker’s middle-American roots suggested country flavors, so Danna assembled

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