Trent Reznor: From 'Social Network' to 'Dragon Tattoo'

By Ann Oldenburg for USA Today on January 25, 2011

Industrial rock has found its way to the Oscars - thanks to a nomination for Trent Reznor, the influential one-man band behind Nine Inch Nails.

Reznor, along with collaborator Atticus Ross, was recognized for the throbbing score in The Social Network. "Maybe I've found my calling," the musician deadpans about his first film job.

Wasn't it hard to figure out the right music for a movie about the creator of Facebook? "I did wonder how to score a film about guys working at computers and screwing each other," he told USA TODAY's Susan Wloszczyna today. "My strategy was to get inside David's head as best as I could. He know what he wants and I had to extract that from him and do what was best for the picture. It soon became clear that it was a bit daunting."

He was given the assignment by director David Fincher. They have known each other for a while. "He used a song of mine over the opening credits for Seven in the '90s. He is on the short list of excellent video directors, and we did one together in 2005," Reznor explains.

Still, Reznor was surprised he called. "At the time, I was winding up Nine Inch Nails. I didn't want to be spinning my wheels, so he forced my hand into trying something new. It was a flattering opportunity."

Most daunting was figuring out how to make Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King sound contemporary for a tense scene about a rowing race. Fincher wanted it to sound like synthesizer music from the '70s. "We were almost finished with the film when he dropped that gem."

But they managed to meet the challenge in three weeks. "Three hair-pulling weeks, " he adds. Reznor and Ross must have pleased Fincher, since they are now scoring the director's Americanized version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Which means they have no time to celebrate. "We'll sit around and pat each other on the back. Then we will head back to work. It is always a humbling experience to create music."

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