ET: How did you get involved in this project? What was Greta's original pitch to get you onboard?
Jon Brion: There wasn't a pitch. I think for the most part with composers, you just get the call, you know? In my case, I'll get an agent sending me a text going, "There's a movie for you to see. It's Greta Gerwig." And I'm like, Ah, I like her. I'll see that. But we didn't speak beforehand. I went to a screening and got a feeling from the movie. So, I just sent word that I liked it and within a day or so, we were on the phone with each other and shortly thereafter she came out to L.A. and we sat down and really, at that point, it's more a matter of feel. But it wasn't like she had to come and give a sales pitch. And I don't know if, in my line of work, that's even a particularly common thing.
So, there was a completed cut of the movie to see by the time you came on?
Yes. Composers, they're often let in very late in the game. They don't want us fraternizing with the locals too much. [Laughs]
You mentioned the shorthand you had with Greta. Where were the discussions you were having, like, both in terms of the score as a whole and individual pieces of music?
Often when any people who make stuff get together, half the time you spend talking about what you dislike in what you see, in what's currently being made. And not just in movies. It could be politics, it could be about music, it could be in human behavior. So, often, the discussions would be about any number of issues and at some point, you think, Oh, perhaps we should make some music! [Laughs] Or one of you gets an idea from the conversation that leads you to an area of the film. That was more how things worked. It wasn't so much, like, she came in with a given agenda that night, like, "Let's look at scene number five." And, "I'm thinking something like a polka that doesn't have clarinets." At least in our case, it wasn't really like that. Of course, every other director just comes in and asks for polka, and I try to talk them out of it. It's a very thorny process. [Laughs]