Luca Guadagnino and Trent Reznor on the Americana Influences that Shaped the Music of ‘Bones and All’

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have established themselves as some of Hollywood’s most versatile composers, with work ranging from intense David Fincher scores to the whimsical music of Pixar’s “Soul.” But for their latest project, Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal romance “Bones and All,” the two men went in yet another different musical direction. The score focuses on acoustic music inspired by classic songs from the American heartland, seeking to underscore the film’s nuanced themes rather than overpower them.

In a new exclusive featurette, courtesy of MGM, Reznor, Ross, and Guadagnino opened up about the influences that went into crafting the film’s unique sound.

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“When we got the first cut of the film, no music or anything in it, we thought that this was a masterpiece,” Reznor said, emphasizing that his goal was always to find subtle ways to add texture to the understated love story.

“We knew that the guitar was going to be the central element,” Ross added. “It’s one of the scores that I’m most proud of.”

In a previous interview with IndieWire, Reznor talked about the process of collaborating with Guadagnino to find music that enhanced the film without dominating it.

“Luca was very articulate from the beginning,” Reznor said. “He said, ‘It’s a love story. I’m gonna shoot it in an understated fashion. It’s gonna feel naturalistic. I want the music to be a character. I don’t want the music to overpower the film.’ He had a list of descriptors of what the music needed to do, and they weren’t powerful brass lines or anything like that. It was just feelings. And in addition, he said, ‘Maybe it’s an acoustic guitar, a lonely acoustic guitar playing a beautiful melody that could anchor the piece. Maybe that’s right. Maybe it isn’t. It’s up to you.’ And that was enough to get us started.”

Leila Latif praised “Bones and All” in her IndieWire review, writing that “the film opens itself up successfully to myriad readings, potentially speaking about everything from intergenerational trauma, to queer love, to addiction. But “Bones & All” is fundamentally a beautifully realized and devastating, tragic romance which at multiple moments would have Chekhov himself weeping as the trigger is pulled.”

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