You know his music. Now, you’ll be able to know him.
John Williams, the legendary screen composer behind some of the most recognized movie themes of all time, is now the subject of a feature-length documentary, with his long-time collaborator Steven Spielberg among those spearheading the project.
Amblin Television, Imagine Documentaries and Nedland Media are in the very early stages of production on the documentary that is being directed by Laurent Bouzereau. Bouzereau is a long-time director of “making of” and behind-the-scenes featurettes, producing a several hundred of them since the 1990s, including dozens for Spielberg movies.
Spielberg is executive producing along with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Justin Wilkes, Sara Bernstein and Meredith Kaulfers.
Williams is the most recognized and accomplished composer alive and perhaps the most influential in movie history, writing scores for such films as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, Jaws and Harry Potter. And it’s his unique 50-year relationship with Spielberg that is remarkable in an industry that resists longevity and eager to chase the next big (and usually young) thing.
Williams, now 90, was expected to retire after finishing Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, being directed by James Mangold. But at a talk with Spielberg on stage earlier this month, Williams surprised his friend saying that he no longer planned on retiring after the next Indiana Jones film. A visibly emotional Spielberg remarked he better figure out what film he was doing next, then.
Spielberg went on to sum up their 50-year relationship as like an ideal marriage. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a disagreement,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “I mean, what am I going to do? Sit down and write the music myself?”
With a career spanning more than six decades, Willams has composed the music and served as music director for more than one hundred films, including all nine Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Memoirs of a Geisha, Far and Away, The Accidental Tourist, Home Alone and The Book Thief.
His nearly 50-year artistic partnership with Spielberg includes the aforementioned Raiders and Jaws as well Schindler’s List, E.T., Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Munich, Saving Private Ryan, The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse, Lincoln, The BFG, The Post, and the filmmaker’s current feature, The Fabelmans.
He began his career working on hundreds of episodes of television in the early days of network broadcasting, composing music for the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island and shows such as Lost in Space. He also created themes for NBC Nightly News (“The Mission”), NBC’s Meet the Press, and the PBS arts showcase Great Performances. And he has also composed themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic Games, as well as the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. With five Academy Awards and fifty-two Oscar nominations, he is the Academy’s most-nominated living person and the second-most nominated person in the history of the Oscars, after Walt Disney.
In 2016, Williams received the 44th Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute — the first time in its history that this honor was bestowed upon a composer.
Williams was named the nineteenth music director of the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1980, and currently holds the title of Boston Pops Laureate Conductor which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993. He also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood.
And while he does not reside in Los Angeles, he has become part of the fabric of the city and a summer time fixture thanks to decades of annual concerts at the Hollywood Bowl over the course of the Labour Day weekend that attract audiences both young and old.