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Composer Andrew Lockington's otherworldly score for 'The Space Between Us'




Composer Andrew Lockington oversees a recording session for the film
Composer Andrew Lockington oversees a recording session for the film "San Andreas."
Neil Parfitt
Composer Andrew Lockington oversees a recording session for the film
Film Score Composer Andrew Lockington attends a screening of "The Space Between Us."
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images


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“The Space Between Us” is part sci-fi adventure, part teen romance. It’s about a boy named Gardner who was born on Mars to an astronaut posted there, and who comes to Earth for the first time when he’s 16.

The film is directed by Peter Chelsom, who hired Canadian composer Andrew Lockington to create the music. Lockington took this extreme version of the fish-out-of-water story as inspiration for the basis of his score.

“One of the things Peter said to me is, Let’s go weird,” Lockington said. “Let’s go way outside the box. But then let’s work our way back, and make sure that we’re staying true to the emotional journey of what we’re trying to do.”

“Interestingly, I did a film two years ago called ‘San Andreas.’ There’s a scene in the film where the Golden Gate Bridge ... the wires start snapping. And I thought, Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if we incorporated that into the score and bashed a piano up and recorded it with the wires snapping and everything?

“I’m not sure I’m allowed to go back to Home Depot anymore, ’cause when my assistant and I showed up, [we had] huge bolt-cutters and face masks and gloves. There was a lot of suspicion, appropriately so. I kind of got halfway through destroying this piano, and I went into the studio and I thought, I’ll just start playing this decrepit, dying piano. And I realized it was an amazing instrument. So, from there, and especially after talking to Peter about the theme of ‘The Space Between Us,’ I thought, you know, let me start looking around and see ... maybe there’s some instruments there that the world has overlooked.

“A cello bow that I bought is the only thing that’s actually new. One of my programmers, Michael White, is a scientific genius, and he kind of taught me [to] walk around with a bow and just bow everything you can — see what makes sound.”

“There’s this, which we got at a junkyard on a walk one afternoon — I think it’s an old school bell from the 1800s. It has remnants of little bits of red you can see here, in the only places there isn’t rust.”

A vintage school bell from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
A vintage school bell from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
Michael White

“This is a ice cream dish that a friend of mine got at a flea market in Paris. I think it’s [from] around the 1800s. And it makes all sorts of cool noises when you bow it.”

A vintage ice cream dish from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
A vintage ice cream dish from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
Michael White

“I have no idea what this is called. It’s sort of like a half-ukulele, half-harp. I’m told that it was sold door-to-door in the 1800s. I bought it for $50 at a flea market. I have no idea how you’re supposed to play it, but I kind of figured out a way to. And it’s actually a big part of the score.”

A vintage
A vintage "Ukelin" from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
Michael White

“[There's] a cue called ‘First Skype.’ And one of the things I do when I had these different things ... before I’d actually learned my way around any of these salvaged metal and instruments and things, I would turn the mic on and press record. I’d record hours, just all my screwing around, just start playing.”

“At the house that I rented in Los Angeles, where I set up my studio ... this had actually been tossed aside outside. I don’t know if it was a remnant of a party or something. But one of the things I always do, per my idea, was bow everything. So this is some sort of cheap wine glass, I think. But I had a cue, actually, that I began this idea of just this rhythm, and ‘Coming to See You’ began that way, the whole idea.”

Crystal wine glasses from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
Crystal wine glasses from Lockington's eclectic collection of instruments.
Michael White

“I hope that when the audience sees the film, they are just moved by the emotion of what they’re hearing and what they’re seeing as one experience, and they’re not distracted. That was probably the biggest challenge: How do I do something cool, but stay true to the mission of the score? Which is to tell a parallel telling of the story, and be the emotional heart of what we’re seeing and experiencing.”



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