Here’s how David Bowie influenced the score for Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’

The new adaptation arrives in cinemas next week

The composer of Greta Gerwig’s upcoming film Little Women has revealed how David Bowie influenced its soundtrack.

An adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel, the movie follows four sisters living in 19th century New England who are about to flock the familial nest. It stars the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, and Emma Watson.

In a new interview with Billboard, French musician Alexandre Desplat recalled how Gerwig had requested music resembling “Mozart meeting Bowie” for the film’s score.


“I always try to ask, ‘What do you expect from me as the composer? Do you want me to do something grand? Melancholic? Lush? Huge? Small?’,” he told the outlet of his initial discussions with the director.

“She said with enthusiasm, ‘I’d like the music to be a mix of Mozart meeting Bowie’.”

Desplat continued: “It doesn’t mean anything, but it does mean something if you let the energy come into your system and you get something of that, and this opening is about that.”

Asked how he interpreted Gerwig’s vision of a Bowie/Mozart mash-up, he replied: “I think energy, pulse, melodies, joy and rhythm because Mozart has a lot of rhythm.

First trailer for Greta Gerwig's 'Little Women' film adaptation arrives
‘Little Women’ trailer


“And Bowie, of course, there’s something pop about the art direction of this film. The way they dance – they don’t dance like they would be in a period movie with every moment tailored like it’s 1867.”

He added: “There’s a youth about Mozart, because we know Mozart was a child all his life, and for Bowie, there’s something extravagant about him that we see in their characters – they want to be different, they all want to be artists, except for Meg maybe.”

Little Women has received an early nod for next year’s Oscars in the Music (Original Score) category. Alexandre Desplat has previously bagged two Academy Awards for his work on The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shape of Water.

Little Women is set to arrive in Australian cinemas on January 1, 2020.


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