If it weren't for rock stars doing film scores, our current cinematic soundscape would be a lot different today. Putting aside theme songs, musicals and Elvis movies, film has still benefited greatly from pop composers spreading their wings. Oingo Boingo's Danny Elfman jumped ships entirely, seemingly never looking back, and Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh made a similar career change, for which Wes Anderson is no doubt eternally grateful.
But it's the dabblers that really fascinate me. The results can be wonderful: Neil Young's score for Dead Man was haunting and memorable, as were Peter Gabriel's scores for The Last Tempation of Christ and Birdy. Jonny Greenwood did great work in There Will Be Blood, and I'm pretty sure I want Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford playing at my funeral.
It doesn't always pan out - nobody looks back fondly on Mastodon's score for Jonah Hex, and Skidoo is a glorious mess, Nilsson or no Nilsson. Nevertheless, hearing about pop/rock stars venturing into film scoring always makes my ears perk up, as they did today when Variety announced that Jack White will be scoring the Johnny Depp/Jerry Bruckheimer/Gore Verbinski summer 2013 release The Lone Ranger.
According to Variety, the idea to hire White came from Depp and director Verbinski. Having skipped the last two Pirates movies, I'm not as sick of this team as some others might be, and I'm looking forward to what they come up with. But I was down for the Native American werewolf stuff, so what do I know.
Jack White is all over the place (in a good way, give or take a Bond theme), so the big X factor here is to see whether he can adapt to a "summer blockbuster score" type sound, or if it's going to be a mountain coming to Mohammed-type situation, resulting in something a little more out there.