Musings About Music In Film

Interview: Nick Urata (Paddington)


One of the big surprises of the last year was the adaptation of the classic Paddington Bear books. Critically acclaimed, Paddington was a big hit with many, partially thanks to a score by Nick Urata. Charlie Brigden caught up with Urata for a brief chat about the bear.

Charlie Brigden: When they asked you to do Paddington, musically what was the first thing that came into your head?

Nick Urata: When i was asked to do it?

CB: Yeah.

NU: Good question! [laughs] Well, I started I guess with Mary Poppins [laughs]. That was the first thing that I thought of.

CB: That's a pretty good start.

NU: Yeah, I love the music in that movie, and another trip to london to another family that needs some tutoring

CB: Was that something that was important from early on, the britishness of the whole thing?

NU: Yeah, I mean it's very prevalent in the style and the story, so yeah it definitely helped inform the music.

CB: When you had the idea of what you wanted to do musically, did the concept of what you wanted to do in terms of musicians and orchestra come pretty quickly?

NU: Yeah, well (director) Paul King is very hands-on, and I think one of the reasons he chose me was because of some of the stuff I'd done before and some of the instruments I'd worked with. They wanted to go for sort of an indie, sort of a Wes Anderson type almost. We were both huge fans of that sort of genre, although we ended up going way more orchestral and choral I think. But maybe it's indie at the core!

CB: Well it still has that small feel.

NU: Good, we managed to be intimate but still had these sweeping aerial shots of London so we had to be grandiose in some spots.

CB: Did it come very early on for you to decide to integrate the Peruvian, Latin flavoured music?

NU: Yeah, we made a conscious decision to not be way on the nose geographically, but we definitely wanted it to at least have a part of it.

CB: It's really nice because it has a stereotypical feel but it doesn't have the normal Brazilian feel that we're used to hearing. It feels more specific to Peru.

NU: Yeah, we were hoping that would be the case.

CB: Did you go to Peru?

NU: I have been there, yeah.

CB: Did you find it quite difficult to reconcile the more ethnic elements with the orchestra?

NU: It was a little bit tricky, but I had some experience with that, and I find when those two worlds collide the outcome can be surprisingly good.

CB: Well it's a charming score and it represents the character and his world well. What's up for you next?

NU: I'm just going on to do a film with the same guys who did I Love You Phillip Morris, they've just finished shooting a film that takes place in Afghanistan so once again I have to bring a little bit of ethnicity into a larger story.

CB: Well good luck with that, Nick.

NU: Thanks.

Thanks to Nick Urata, Dheeraj Agnihotri, and Garry McConnachie

Paddington is out now on Blu-ray and DVD