With Saturday night ratings staggering over the past few decades, CBS is looking to bring back viewers by re-introducing original programming on the sports heavy evening, beginning with the suspense drama Ransom. Ransom is based on the real-life professional experiences of the world-renowned crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert and his partner Marwan Mery. The show will premiere January 1 after a football doubleheader and then move into its regular Saturday 8pm slot January 7. With Ransom’s premiere only a few weeks away we decided to speak with the show’s composer Guillaume Roussel and discuss everything from how he got involved with the show to the challenges of working on an international co-production.Some of Roussel’s other credits include NBC’s Crossing Lines, Nicholas Cage’s Outcast and the upcoming Rosmund Pike thriller The Man With the Iron Heart (formerly HHhH). Read the full interview below.
How did you get involved with “Ransom”?
I initially got involved because I got a call from the French producers and the French broadcaster who wanted to submit my name to the show’s creator Frank Spotnitz. One of the show’s production companies is TF1 and for the past 10 years I have worked on many projects with them also.
One of the “Ransom” creators is Frank Spotnitz whom is also the creator of Amazon’s highly successful “The Man in the High Castle”. Whenever you knew you got the show, did you have time to go watch “High Castle”, just to see what the vibe might be like?
Well, I mostly knew Frank from The X-Files. It happens I am a true fan of that series which in my opinion played a big role in re-introducing top class projects on TV. The first meeting we had with Frank, I couldn’t help myself but ask him to sign my copy of the brand new Blue-Ray X- Files complete bundle. It was such an honor when I found out he had chosen me for this project! I had already watched all 200 episodes of The X-Files 3 times, so I didn’t feel like I needed to watch The Man in The High Castle. I was very familiar with his style from The X-Files.
How does it go episode to episode? Can you walk us through the process from page to screen, and where you fit into that?
As always, in TV, the process is particularly hectic and fast paced. We met with Frank a few times when we were working on the first episodes to calibrate the tone and what the music plays or not. After that, he really gave me a lot of creative freedom. With this very tight schedule, I work mainly on the non-locked picture and once it locks we have a few days to conform it, submit it to the networks, fix it and send it to the mix.
How would you describe your score for “Ransom” in a few words?
It has that typical procedural approach, but we are also trying to have a fuller sound than what I would call more "atmospheric" usual score. Also, the show has a strong emotional aspect, so we were really able to embrace that through the music.
Do each of the characters in “Ransom” have their own theme? If so, which do you like best?
There is more like a team theme. Since the four main characters are always together for now, it would not make sense to have four separate themes. As the season goes on and their personal backgrounds begin to unfold, there will be more room for different, individual themes.
What has been the most challenging part about scoring “Ransom” so far, musically?
The challenge is more about the complexity of the production. The way it works on an international co-production makes every decision very complicated. There are three culturally different networks and their respective audiences to please and a lot of different producers. So it can be very tricky at times.
You also scored NBC’s “Crossing Lines” starring Donald Sutherland. Has “Ransom” been a lot different experience musically than “Crossing Lines”?
Yes, Crossing Lines had a darker mood, where Ransom is a lot lighter. Some aspects are similar, but the music helps to bring some originality.
You can learn more about Guillaume at http://www.guillaumeroussel.com/ and Ransom at http://www.cbs.com/recommended/news/1005266/new-drama-series-ransom-coming-to-cbs/.
Written by rand01 on Dec 19, 2016