Some Assembly Required

Hybrid Scores in Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel

Authored by: Kate McQuiston

The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  June  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138855342
eBook ISBN: 9781315681047
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores relationships between existing musical works and newly written music by Alexandre Desplat in Wes Anderson’s films Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Though creating new music on existing models is not new in film or in Anderson’s oeuvre, its proliferation in these two films suggests the need to examine the details, circumstances, and aesthetics of the scores. The two films showcase an array of creative musical work with respect to existing music; this work centers on homage in the first case, and freer reinvention of found materials in the second. The scores—including both existing and original works—extend the practices in Anderson’s earlier work of curating music from different sources, and developing new music based on existing models. They also illustrate a vigorous trend of musical borrowing and transformation in contemporary media, including film scores for major studio releases—a trend that has raised many questions over the last decade about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ award for best original score (see Miguel Mera, Chapter 3 in this volume).

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