How ‘Money Monster’s’ Composer Completed the Score in Less Than a Month

Composer Dominic Lewis joined director Jodie Foster’s fourth feature, “Money Monster,” late in the game. Henry Jackman, the film’s music producer, recommended him to Foster in April, and Lewis accepted the challenge to complete the score for the May release in three and a half weeks.

How they did it: Foster knew the kind of music she wanted for the film, Lewis says — something electronic, not “big Hollywood” sounds. After spending a weekend experimenting, he arranged a spotting session with Foster. Her reaction to the segments guided his choices. Sounds related to money handling — the clinking of poker chips in a casino, the opening bell on Wall Street — were incorporated into the score. Lewis manipulated these recordings and saved them in a library.

Character studies: The score also includes traditional orchestration to help the audience identify with key characters. For example, string sections align with Lee Gates (played by George Clooney), a charming and cordial man who has lost everything. “The strings capture Lee’s human quality and add to his believability,” says Lewis. “He’s someone you really feel for.”

Short but sweet: While Lewis allows that creating a feature film score in less than a month is not ideal, he found the collaborative process with Foster to be exciting and efficient. “I wanted it to be the best it could be,” he says. “No one is going to care about the short time you have to do the work.”

This story first appeared in the June 14, 2016 issue of Variety.