The Forbidden Kingdom Poster from Moviegoods



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March 6, 2008


Composer David Buckley
A New Musical Kingdom - Page 2




Began music experience as a choir-boy.

Studied composition at Cambridge University

Taught music at Cambridge University

Resides in Los Angeles, CA and the United Kingdom

Official Web Site

Composition Credits (Film)

Town Creek

The Forbidden Kingdom

Additional Music

Gone, Baby, Gone
Additional Music

Revenge (Director's Cut)
Additional Music

Tne Number 23
Additional Music

Shrek The Third
Additional Music

Flushed Away
Additional Music


Composition Credits (TV)

Earth Shock: Planet Storm

Earth Shock: Dinosaur Meteor

Grand Designs: Trade Secrets

The Riba Sterling Prize

Buildings that Shaped Britain

Take My Mother In Law

Parish in the Sun



The Real Da Vinci Code

Golden Mumy Tomb Opening - Live!

The Peasants Revolt

Extreme Archeology

Fighter Plane Dig - Live!










  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2
  Exclusive Music from
The Forbidden Kingdom


All Music Used by Persmission


Jamie Luker, David Buckley, Mal Luker - mixing TOWN CREEK in one of Wavecrest studio mix-rooms.

Jamie Luker, David Buckley, Mal Luker - mixing TOWN CREEK at Wavecrest Studios.


  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

Composer David BuckleyCC: THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM is one of those East meets West ideas. What was your approach in handling this regarding style and instrumentation?

DAVID BUCKLEY: There were questions right from the beginning as to how far we should go in any one direction. Actually, there is only one western character in the movie, Jason, who plays the young kung-fu geek from Boston. The film is about his journey through ancient China and his growth from boy to man. We looked for a way of trying to represent his ‘alien’ status in this strange mythical world. Obviously, the symphony orchestra plays a western role and the traditional eastern instruments that we used: the erhu, the pipa, and the gu zheng, represent the other end of the spectrum. To link the two worlds together we used the electric violin - played by Hugh Marsh. He has played on some of Harry's projects before, and generously worked on this score with me. He makes such an incredible, other-worldly sound. It's very ethereal and bridges the gap between the western violin and the Chinese erhu. In the end, we decided that the overall tone of the score should not be overtly Chinese. Rather, it should be something that would be accessible for western audiences and acceptable to eastern audiences. There is even electric guitar in the score (played by my old friend Keith Bayley) to give a bit of a ‘Spaghetti Eastern’ sound!

CC: How much music did you write for THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM?

DAVID BUCKLEY: I believe it was 94 minutes in the certainly felt like that much!

CC: What would you say your biggest challenge was scoring this film?

DAVID BUCKLEY: Well, at heart it is a martial arts movie, so like any film that has a lot of action in it, there is a certain fear that exists before one embarks on the larger cues. The lyrical sections are pleasing to do because you can enjoy the exoticism of the soloists and the harmonic ground that the orchestra provides. By and large, that part is immediately satisfying and gratifying to do. The 5th reel of the film is action from beginning to end and starting this was incredibly daunting – I knew when I started I could not stop until about 20 minutes of music was covered. It began big and just had to get bigger over the course of the reel. With action cues, you know there are going to be a lot more notes...and also the repercussions of picture changes is going to be far greater than in a lyrical passage. We were very close to the wire on this film. Literally the night before we were going to score, I was getting new picture edits, and having to conform the cues to them. One has to be very flexible with a film like this…

CC: Not only did you have a limited amount of time, but also a limited budget for this score.

DAVID BUCKLEY: Yes. We operated on the narrowest of budgets to get this going. All the folks who got involved with this score did so at bargain-basement prices. Still, the professionalism of everyone was amazing. They treated the project as if it was the best gig that they could have got. It was a very tricky journey, but everyone was really, really cool about everything. I'd love to work again with all of these people.

CC: What you've shown me looks and sounds great. Has there been any talk about a sequel?

DAVID BUCKLEY: Nothing I have heard yet. I heard back from the dubbing stage recently that everything is working really well together. Everyone is very happy. I'm slightly out of the loop right now, but I think it’s going to be very interesting to watch how it does when it releases in April. But come on. It's Jackie Chan and Jet Li! I personally think it is going to be successful. There is a fight scene in the third reel that people are already classifying as "a moment in cinema history." I think there is scope for a second film, but we will have to see…


At this point, I was taken upstairs to another mixing room where Mal and Jamie Luker (father and son mixing team) were busy with another project from David Buckely - TOWN CREEK. I was treated to sit right in the sweet-spot of the 5.1 mix and watched a pretty frantic scene with Buckley's music enhancing the freneticsm at every turn. Let's just say I'll never pet a horse the same way again.


CC: Woah. So what was it like working on this film. You were working on this simultaneously to THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. Right?

DAVID BUCKLEY: Well, mercifully TOWN CREEK was a very different animal. It didn't start off that I would be scoring them at the same time, but due to delays it ended up that way. I'm jolly glad that the two films were so different. TOWN CREEK is a horror film with a twist. The score is very ambient with a lot of sound design and only a minimal orchestral contribution. There are a couple of moments where lyricism and melody works, but on the whole, it is tension, atmosphere and energy.

CC: Do you anticipate soundtrack releases for both THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM and TOWN CREEK?

DAVID BUCKLEY: Right now, for TOWN CREEK, there's nothing planned. THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM is being done as we speak, so I'm hopeful that things will get completed in time to match the film's release.

CC: So now you've been working for four and a half months straight. What are you moving on to now?

DAVID BUCKLEY: Well, hopefully some sleep! Actually, I think I'm going to go back over to London to help on a project there. After that, I'll be waiting to see how THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM does. There are a couple of other things in the pipeline but they are very vague at the moment.

CC: Will you attend the premiere of THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM?

DAVID BUCKLEY: Oh yes...if I'm invited! Whether it's in China or America, I'd love to. I'm betting my invite is in the post somewhere (laughs).

CC: I appreciate the time and the tour today.  Thank you.

DAVID BUCKLEY: Thank you, Chris.

Return to (Page 1)


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