Composer Laura's music sets mood for star cast's heart-warming film drama
A TEIGNMOUTH-BASED composer, who teamed up with her director friend for the film project Song For Marion starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Arterton, is celebrating its success.
Laura Rossi wrote the music for the movie and linked up with Paul Andrew Williams, who has directed it. He's also originally from Teignmouth.
Laura (pictured) had previously written music for Paul's other films, London to Brighton and The Cottage, and the pair have known each other for years.
"We were at school together, and I used to sing at his granddad's retirement home in an acapella jazz trio," said Laura.
"Paul was much cooler, he had the leads in the local drama shows."
The films' heart-warming story follows a loving marriage between grumpy pensioner Arthur and the ever-cheerful Marion.
Cantankerous but loving husband Arthur does not share his wife Marion's passion for performing. While she is happy to sing her heart out with the unconventional local choir, Arthur would prefer to hide himself away and complain about how embarrassing it all is. But when heartbreak strikes, Arthur is forced to re-think his outlook on life.
With the support of choir director Elizabeth, Arthur begins to come out of his shell and in the process forms a touching relationship with Elizabeth as well as a desire to build bridges with his estranged son James.
Laura was involved in the film from it's early stages so she could get a feel for what music to compose.
She said: "For this project I met the editor on set and he sent me over some early scenes which I wrote some music for and the whole score really grew from these themes.
"It was really nice being on board early on, though the film was of course re-edited many times so I had to do a lot of re-writes to make the music fit the newly-edited scenes.
"The great thing about writing film music is every project is always different.
"For this film the score had to do a few different things. Music was needed to bring out the more emotional parts of the film and help enhance the relationship between Marion and Arthur, who are a really sweet couple, despite Arthur being a bit grumpy.
"At times the music also needed to be a bit cheeky and fun. Some of the more intimate moments I scored for piano, guitar and solo strings and other parts such as the choir competition, which needed to feel grand and exciting, I used a full orchestra."
As well as writing Laura, who is a former pupil of Teignmouth Community College, also appears in the film playing the piano and got to meet the cast.
"They were all lovely to work with," said Laura.
"My husband, Mike Outram, also played guitar on the film so he accompanied Vanessa's solo and I accompanied Terence's solo.
"I also taught Gemma the piano parts for some of the songs in the film, she was great and was actually learning the piano just for the film.
"It was a great experience being on set and meeting all the other cast and crew and watching them all doing their thing on the film.
"Working on films is such a collaborative process it's great to be a part of that, as so often as a composer you just get brought in right at the end."
Having seen the finished film, she's thrilled with the result.
"It's a really lovely and moving film, I am very proud to have worked on it," said Laura.
"The cast and script are great and it's a film everyone can relate to, about families and relationships.
"It's very moving and very funny too. It'll make you laugh and cry — the perfect cinema experience."
As well as writing for film and TV Laura also fits in being a tutor in Music for Film at the London Film Academy.
She said: "I take a weekend masterclass on film music every couple of months.
"It's a great place, and is really nice to meet aspiring directors and composers on the course and spend a weekend talking about film music.
"My job as a composer can be quite anti-social, I spend a lot of time in my studio on my own writing music, so it is great to do something sociable too."
Now A Song For Marion has wrapped, she's working on a BBC drama titled Prisoners Wives, series two, which airs this month.
She added: "I am also trying to organise more live orchestral screenings of my score to the World War One silent films The Battle of the Somme and Ancre for the 100th anniversary."
The soundtrack for the film, which features Laura's score and songs in the film with Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton and Terence Stamp singing, are available now and was recorded with the Chamber Orchestra of London at British Grove Studios.