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Danny Elfman on Scoring ‘Doctor Strange’ and the Musical Mayhem of That Lunatic ‘Lethal Symphonies’ Sequence

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Chris Willman Senior Music Writer and Chief Music CriticDanny Elfman comes by his “Strange” love naturally. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the composer’s ninth film with director Sam Raimi and fourth on a Marvel project, but more than that, a kind of controlled insanity has been a part of virtually everything he’s done, going back to Oingo Boingo days, so asking him to make a score both superheroic and super-nuts is not necessarily a tall order.Variety spoke with him a few days after the opening, by which point it was abundantly clear that any worries he had about about the film being too Raimi-esque for the mass audience were unfounded, just like the reservations he’d held about how his twin Coachella performances would go over at that festival last month. You have a history with superheroes — Batman, Spider-Man, the Avengers.

Is there way in which the music for these films can rightfully be considered a genre or subgenre whose needs you need to at least partly meet? I mean, yes and no.

Every film has the same core of how you approach it, which is: Figure out the tone of the film, and once you’ve figured out the tone, is it a thematic film?

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