The extensive reshoots that Joss Whedon helmed for Justice League are well-documented, but we still don’t know the whole story of what went on behind the scenes. We’ve been told that only 15-20% of the finished product is the work of Whedon, for instance, but that doesn’t seem to tally with how much of the movie feels Whedonesque rather than Zack Snyder-flavoured.
In a new interview with THR, however, composer Danny Elfman goes someway to shining a light on how rushed Justice League‘s production was. For one, he revealed that Whedon only contacted him to write the film’s score at the “very last second.”
“I got the call from Joss very last second. I got the call and it was, ‘You have to decide now and then go to work tomorrow.’”
Elfman then went on to explain that most of his score was conducted based on storyboards rather than actual footage from the movie, due to him having to produce the score alongside shooting. It was a process that Elfman compares to that of an “animated film.”
“I had a lot of storyboards in place of action. There would be full scenes and then a five-minute sequence of storyboards. Honestly, it was like working on an animated film.
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THR’s piece also confirms that Whedon ousted Antonius Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL, who was originally set to provide the score. Elfman likewise clarifies that he never worked on any of the original Snyder footage that was chopped out of the theatrical cut.
“I didn’t score any of the unused footage, the movie that came out is the movie I scored, it was just in very rough form.”
To be fair to DC, Elfman explained that he had previously worked with Whedon in a very similar situation: for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, the composer had much more free reign this time around.
“I’ve only worked with him twice and it’s been under those circumstances. With Avengers, it was trickier because I was working around half a score. So, I had to rescore either half or two-thirds of the film, and that made for a squirrelly process. On Justice League, it was a blank slate. I only had to work around a Leonard Cohen song.”
As Elfman makes clear with his Avengers comparison, this sort of last minute production isn’t unique to Justice League, but it definitely helps explain why the film turned out as jumbled as it did. Many on social media seem to adore the pic, but critics at large have dismissed it as a bit of a mess.
Whether this will affect its box office intake, we shall have to see. But early numbers suggest it’s not going to measure up to Thor: Ragnarok‘s recent success in its opening weekend – and that’s sure to have WB execs sweating.