'The Turning' Director on the Film's Nineties Soundtrack - Rolling Stone
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Why You Won’t Hear Nirvana on the Very Nineties Soundtrack for ‘The Turning’

‘The music and the fashion of the Nineties, there’s something angry about it — it’s about deconstructing, it’s about showing your inner world and showing it on your sleeve,’ director Floria Sigismondi says

Brooklynn Prince as Flora Fairchild in "The Turning".Brooklynn Prince as Flora Fairchild in "The Turning".

Brooklynn Prince as Flora Fairchild in 'The Turning'

Universal Pictures

Upcoming horror movie The Turning may take place in the Nineties, but you’re not going to hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the soundtrack.

Instead, director Floria Sigismondi teamed up with producer-musicians Lawrence Rothman and Yves Rothman to create a whole new aural environment for the movie, which is a retelling of Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw. They enlisted a cadre of musicians — from Courtney Love to Soccer Mommy — to write their own versions of Nineties music.

“First of all, I wanted to get rid of technology,” Sigismondi tells Rolling Stone of her decision to set the film in the grunge era. The original film tells the tale of a governess named Kate (Mackenzie Davis) who goes to an isolated house to tend to Flora (Brooklynn Prince), an orphaned child who also lives with her brother, Miles (Finn Wolfhard), and housekeeper Mrs. Grose (Barbara Marten). Soon, Kate starts to sense a dark presence in the house, which may be ghosts — or her mind unraveling.

“The music and the fashion of the Nineties, there’s something angry about it — it’s about deconstructing, it’s about showing your inner world and showing it on your sleeve,” Sigismondi says. “I wanted our own version of that; I wanted to create everything from scratch, but still set it in the Nineties. Rather than taking you out of it by playing songs you recognize.” (Sigismondi is no stranger to the music world; she’s directed music videos for the likes of Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, as well as 2010 biopic The Runaways.)

To achieve this effect, Rothman and Sigismondi made a list of their favorite current artists — along with Nineties stalwarts Love and Kim Gordon — and brought them to Rothman’s L.A. studio to record. Musicians were given “diaries” for Kate and Miles, which helped them get into the mindset of the film. Some brought their own songs, others brainstormed with Rothman in the studio. “We reached out to Courtney Love first,” they tell Rolling Stone. “We wanted her to be the starting point, like she’s the mother of the soundtrack and these were all her children.”

Love said in a release: “I read The Turn of the Screw as a kid, so it’s a genuine privilege to have had the opportunity to work with the genius that is Floria Sigismondi and Lawrence Rothman on this soundtrack — especially as I’m alongside so many other fantastic female artists I respect. I’ve long admired [Sigismondi’s] work, particularly The Runaways and the Marilyn Manson videos. Floria and Lawrence had a clear vision on what they wanted to achieve and it was an honor to be invited into their studio and to become a part of it.”

Other artists include Empress Of, Vagabon, Warpaint, Cherry Glazerr, Kali Uchis, Alice Glass, Girl in Red, Kim Gordon, the Aubreys (Finn Wolfhard’s new band), and others. “[My song is] about someone who has a completely negative outlook on life but somehow — through weird and dark things that they like — they’re always getting better,” Wolfhard tells Rolling Stone of his contribution, “Getting Better (Otherwise).”

The soundtrack — which comes out with the movie Friday — features 19 songs, 11 of which appear in the film. According to a statement from Rothman, Mitski’s “Cop Car,” for one, features in a pivotal scene: “Kate’s mind starts to unravel while in her car and we needed a cinematic-but-grunge-influenced song shadowing the scene,” he says. “I reached out to Mitski to see if she wanted to get involved, as Floria and I had a feeling she would deliver a song that was guitar-based but cinematic. ‘Cop Car’ went beyond what we imagined, and we were ecstatic when she sent it to us!”

The Turning Soundtrack

1. “Mother” — Courtney Love
2. “Cop Car” — Mitski
3. “Feed” — Soccer Mommy
4. “Kate’s Not Here” — Girl in Red
5. “SkindeepSkyhighHeartwide” — Lawrence Rothman (feat. Pale Waves)
6. “Call Me” — Empress Of
7. “The Wild” — Vagabon
8. “Getting Better (otherwise)” — The Aubreys
9. “Womb” — Cherry Glazerr
10. “The Brakes” — Warpaint
11. “Crust (Neverreallyknewyou)” — Lawrence Rothman
12. “Judas Kiss” — Lawrence Rothman and MUNA
13. “The Turn” — Kali Uchis
14. “Sleep it Off” — Alice Glass
15. “Ouroboros” — Dani Miller (of Surfbort)
16. “I Don’t Know” — Alison Mosshart (of the Kills)
17. “Take No Prisoners” — Living Things (feat. Sunflower Bean)
18. “Crust” — Lawrence Rothman
19. “Silver” — Kim Gordon

In This Article: Courtney Love, The Turning


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