Composer Christian Wibe on scoring WWE Studios’ The Marine 6: Close Quarters

Christian Wibe The Marine 6

For those of you who don’t know, the first The Marine film was released back in 2006 and starred John Cena, Robert Patrick and Kelly Carlson. The film follows a group of diamond thieves who kidnap the wife of a recently discharged marine who then goes on a chase through the South Carolinian wilderness to retrieve her. Twelve years later, WWE Studios has turned the film into a popular franchise, their latest installment titled The Marine 6: Close Quarters. With every great film comes a great score to accompany it, Marine 6 being no exception with composer Christian Wibe’s stand out compositions heightening the action and emotions. Wibe is also known for his work on Netflix’s What Happened to Monday starring Glenn Close & Noomi Rapace and the Dead Snow films by Tommy Wirkola. We talked with Wibe about Marine 6 and some of his other projects below in this exclusive interview.

Nerd Reactor: At what point did you come on board with The Marine 6: Close Quarters?

Christian Wibe: I joined the team quite late and had about 5 weeks to write the score. Not a lot of time for an action film like Marine 6 but definitely doable. After initial creative meetings with director James Nunn, I pretty much lived in my studio throughout the project. For me, when on a tight schedule, I try not to rush into the writing but take my time in the beginning. To really make sure I have a solid foundation to build the score on. First 2 weeks I focused on establishing my themes and palate. After that I dove straight into the more challenging scenes of the film. Scenes I knew were important for the director. I really wanted to tackle those early, knowing things would get hectic towards the end.

Why do you think the music for The Marine 6: Close Quarters is key to telling a good story?

For most films the score is a big part of the storytelling process. In Marine 6, which is an action film, it also serves a very important role in keeping the forward momentum, pushing the story along and making it exciting at the same time.

The effect of music in film is fascinating. Very powerful. There’s a lot we can do to guide the feelings and focus of the audience.

When first beginning work on The Marine 6, what was the initial direction (soundwise) that was given to you? Did that change at all through the process?

When we found the direction that we wanted to go with the score, we pretty much stuck with it throughout the project. Director James Nunn is a very cool guy to work with. While having a clear vision, he’s also very open and collaborative. We had meetings early on and bounced ideas back and forth. We all wanted a fun, entertaining and driving score. The score is playful but always in a serious manner.

I also wanted to support the clear-cut good vs. bad with strong contrasting colors.

I wanted to give Maddy, the main villain, a disturbing, unpredictable vibe. Her sound is very experimental and electronic. For the good guys, I contrasted that with more organic instruments. Guitars, hand percussion, drums etc. It’s fun when these colors mash together in the action sequences.

For all the sci-fi fans out there. What can you tell us about the making of What Happened to Monday that we already don’t know?

Haha. Ok, here’s a fun little detail I never expected to share, but here you go.

Toward the end of WHTM, I worked extreme hours. The deadline was approaching fast and we had our big string session the following day. The preceding night I still had a few cues to do write. Completely in a bubble, consumed by the writing, I forgot to eat. I realized around midnight and was dead hungry. Usually I ordered in and stacked up, but now everything was closed. Low on energy I kept at it for another 3 hours before my body finally went into complete shutdown. NOW I HAD TO FIND SOMETHING TO EAT!! I decided to chase food downtown Oslo. Very unlikely anything’s open Sunday night at 4am but I had to try.

“Perhaps this one place is open..” 20 minutes later I get there and of course it’s CLOSED! Really bummed I begin my return when the funniest thing happens. The skies open wide!! Massive rain starts pouring down like crazy!! Cats and dogs. On top of my screaming stomach, I´m now also drenched!! I couldn’t believe my luck. Just as hungry and now also soaking wet I’m back in the studio at 4am. Now I had to get that last cue done! While trying my best to block out the hunger I threw off all my clothes and got back to it. 5 hours later I completed the score. The last cue for WHTM was written in the middle of the night in nothing but my wet underwear!! I never told anyone but here you go 🙂 Funny enough it turned out to be one of the cues I am most proud. Luckily the director also loved it!

Because What Happened to Monday took place in the future, did you feel more limited to the scope of sounds you could use? Or did you see this as beneficial because the sound wanted was so specific?

I think it gave me a lot of flexibility and the possibility to experiment in different directions. From the get-go we didn’t really want a very high-tech sounding score. Futuristic colors yes, but not a stereotypical sci-fi sound. While having a futuristic feel, the story also felt like it needed something “real”, down to earth and grounded. A sound that could embrace also the intimacy of the story, the family and their struggle. We had a big orchestra with a lot of power for the action stuff and the big emotional cues. As a companion to the orchestra, I used synths & electronics to give it a touch of sci-fi. I think we found a cool blend of the orchestra and the electronic colors.

How do you find the process of working with filmmakers?

Becoming a filmmaker demands a lot of hard work and passion. The filmmakers I’ve worked with have all been very devoted to their work. They care a lot about their projects and the film they’re making. I really like that. We all want every project to be fantastic and it´s a great energy to be consumed by.

If you could score any Marvel film what would it be? Why?

That’s a tough choice but I’ll pick one. Deadpool. I really liked the fun and cool attitude of that film. It would have been a blast to work on that film!

Learn more about Christian’s music at https://wibe-music.com/

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