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Composer Shore out, Newton Howard in for ‘Kong’
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Oscar-winning composer Howard Shore has left Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and is being replaced by James Newton Howard.
The move comes just two months before Universal Pictures is set to release the film, which bows December 14 in the U.S.
Jackson issued a statement Friday saying that he and Shore were parting ways because of creative differences.
“I have greatly enjoyed my collaborations with Howard Shore, whose musical themes made immeasurable contributions to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy,” he said. “During the last few weeks, Howard and I came to realize that we had differing creative aspirations for the score of ‘King Kong.’ Rather than waste time arguing with a friend and trying to unify our points of view, we decided amicably to let another composer score the film.”
The Jackson-Shore relationship has been a very successful one. Shore composed the score on all three of Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films, as well as additional scoring for the DVDs. He won Oscars for the first and third films in the trilogy, “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Return of the King.” Shore also shared an Oscar for best original song on the latter film with Fran Walsh and Annie Lennox. The composer had been working on the “Kong” score since wrapping “Return of the King.”
Jeff Bond, editor at large of Film Score Monthly, said the difference could stem from Shore’s artistic ambitions running against the demands of a big studio movie.
“Howard Shore is a guy who — particularly on ‘Lord of the Rings’ and a lot of his scores for David Cronenberg — has very specific artistic ideas that he likes to express in a score,” Bond said. “That can be problematic if the composer is potentially running up against the thoughts of a director. Part of the problem is that the bigger the project, the less the score has an opportunity to be creative.”
Shore has been on the other side of the equation, having replaced another composer on a film. He took over the music assignment on Martin Scorsese’s 2002 period drama “Gangs of New York” after Elmer Bernstein left that project.
Newton Howard’s film credits include “The Sixth Sense,” “Collateral” and “Batman Begins.” His scores and songs have garnered six Oscar nominations for films that include “The Prince of Tides,” “The Fugitive” and “The Village.”