What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think Trent Reznor? Is it Nine Inch Nails, his industrial metal outfit whose most popularly mainstream song describes, in graphic detail, wanting to fuck you like an animal? Is it the TV and film scores he’s co-created with Atticus Ross, like the one currently thumping through Damon Lindelof‘s Watchmen, most of which feel like they’re soundtracking an underground kink club 2,000 years into the future? Is it Pixar? It’s probably not Pixar. But Reznor is, in fact, bringing his unique talents to the Pixar animated fantasy Soul, and for the first time the musician discussed joining the project.
Talking to Rolling Stone, Reznor gave a great explanation of how his composer work isn’t so much about the finished product but the experience that comes with creating something, whether its in his comfort zone or not.
“I read something about someone like Robert De Niro years ago — maybe it wasn’t him and maybe he didn’t say it — but someone ask, “What’s your take on this movie you’re making?” He goes, “I haven’t even seen the end result. I’m not doing it for that. I’m doing it for the process of doing it.” And I thought that was kind of odd. Then what I found in my own life is that by taking on these scoring projects, for us, it’s not, “How’d it do at the box office?” or “What was the Rotten Tomatoes score?” It’s nice if it does well. But being in the trenches, collaborating with someone new, learning from them, fighting with them, figuring out their process — that’s the exciting stuff, especially when it’s someone you resonate with. That’s true with Damon Lindelof.
So someone said, “Are you interested in working on an animated film with Pixar?” Yeah, I don’t think anybody does animation better than they do. And we end up meeting with [Pixar’s chief creative officer] Pete Docter, and he’s what you hope he would be. It feels very authentic, it feels very exciting and it’s very, very different from anything else we’ve ever done, from the way they do it to how they think about it. And we’re a risky choice for them, so that makes it very appealing. Can we do something like that? That means us working out of our comfort zone. It’s early days but it’s
been really cool.”
Reznor, because he’s the man, just had to add: “Who knows? We’ll see if we can taint Pixar and darken them up.”
Soul, which hits theaters on June 19, 2020, features Jaime Foxx as the voice of a jazz artist named Joe who steps into a manhole cover and straight-up dies. (Classic Pixar stuff.) A spirit-in-training named 22 (Tina Fey) shepherds Joe on a journey through various after-realms in a film that looks to be the most meta-physical in Pixar’s slate.