‘Little Women’: How Composer Alexandre Desplat Channeled Mozart and Bowie for Saoirse Ronan’s Jo

‘Little Women’: How Composer Alexandre Desplat Channeled Mozart and Bowie for Saoirse Ronan’s Jo
After reading Greta Gerwig’s radical, non-linear adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” composer Alexandre Desplat asked the director what she musically had in mind: “Mozart meets David Bowie,” was her unexpected reply. He was taken aback, but had no intention of creating some sort of retro/modern fusion. Yet after digging deeper, he began contemplating the youthful energy of Mozart and the restless energy of Bowie.

“I thought of it as ambivalence,” said Desplat, the two-time Oscar winner. “The music should always have gravitas and be joyful and have a lot of rhythm, like Mozart had, and like David Bowie had. Some melody line that you can follow.”

But the best musical strategy was capturing the creative thought process of Saoirse Ronan’s Jo as she’s writing her autobiographical novel about her family. That was inherent in Gerwig’s storytelling in the way she championed Jo as a literary,
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