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Composer interview: Christopher Lennertz on ‘Think Like a Man Too’, Part 2

How surprised were you when the first “Think Like a Man” came out and had knocked “The Hunger Games” off of the #1 spot?

Christopher Lennertz
Christopher LennertzCosta Communications

I was less surprised than most people. I think all of us who knew the movie well and saw what was happening underground, in terms of marketing and test screenings, knew that it was going to be something. I didn’t know that it was going to know off “The Hunger Games,” but I did think it was going to do well. It was a great movie, and I thought the timing was right for that kind of a comedy.

But you have to give a lot of credit to the marketing. They didn’t do marketing for a film the way everybody else did. They didn’t just put up a bunch of posters and have trailers. They sent the whole cast into each major market to do screenings for a full month or two before the movie ever came out. Then you started to hear people talking about the movie before its release and it went viral. A lot of that had to do with Will Packer, who is great at that stuff. I could see it happening, and I thought it was going to work. And when the numbers really hit, you realize how big a hit it was, especially considering the budget of the film; it was pretty amazing. I think a lot of other studios took notice.

Do you have any predictions for how “Think Like a Man Too” will do, or do you not want to jinx it?

I would like to think it’s going to do at least as well, or better, than the first one. It’s got what people want. The fact that it’s a summer release is a great thing, but summers are a little more crowded, so you have to hope it’s going to find room. Obviously, “22 Jump Street” did really well last week, so it’s going to hold over pretty strong. But Kevin’s a much bigger star now than he was at the time. I really think it’s going to do well…at least I hope so.

Now that you’ve broken the ice, so to speak, with doing a sequel to your own work, will you use this as a sort of template for how you will attack “Horrible Bosses 2”?

“Horrible Bosses 2” is definitely a continuation of the first movie, and then just take it up a notch. It’s obviously got more of a rock vibe and less of the R&B. But there is definitely a hip-hop flavor to it, much in the way that the first one had that Beastie Boys vibe. What I love doing is making sure that the comedies feel contemporary.

I think doing comedies that are too stereotypically orchestral without incorporating popular instruments and popular styles will unfortunately not feel relevant to a younger audience. You want the audience to feel comfortable in the seats when they’re planning to have a fun night out and laugh. I couldn’t be a bigger fan of huge orchestral music, having worked for Basil Poledouris and Michael Kamen when I first got into the business. I love that and can’t wait to do more of it, but at the same time, I want to make sure each movie really gets what it needs. And I believe that contemporary comedies need contemporary music.

Knowing you have a track record to taking on many projects simultaneously, it seems like recently you have been working on fewer projects than you previously subjected yourself to. Am I seeing that correctly, or is the list not being updated quick enough?

I think the list isn’t being updated, because I definitely feel busy. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working with these bigger-budgeted films that take a little more time. And then the big reason, that has actually been keeping me busier, is all the television, doing both “Revolution” and “Supernatural” for the last couple of years. That is a fulltime gig in of itself. So, on the list, it may look like one, but 22 episodes is a lot of music.

Please forgive me for asking this, but how does it feel having spent all this time building this world and this musical landscape with “Revolution,” to critical acclaim, ultimately to have the rug pulled from beneath your feet?

Obviously, I wish it would have gone a different way, especially because I love working with my friend Eric Kripke, who created the show. And I really enjoyed working with Jon Favreau and J.J. Abrams, who are amazing! But I think TV is a funny place right now. I think so much of the luster of television has moved into cable, into things like “Game of Thrones” and “Breaking Bad” and “House of Cards”. I think the network television model is really going to have to look at itself.

And I think that doing 22 episodes and trying to appeal to a super-wide audience, while not pushing as many boundaries as you can push with cable is hard to do. I think people are really expecting things that are edgier with more of a miniseries kind of a vibe with shorter story arcs. And then you make them wait for the next 8 or 10 episodes. I think there is something to be learned from this. I think that’s what’s going on, and “Revolution” unfortunately got caught in the turmoil of that. And I think that what these shows do next is going to follow the guidelines that cable set up with these great shows, like “Homeland” and “Orange is the New Black”. Networks really have to look at that and be aware of it from now on.

So what is this magic recipe that “Supernatural” concocted for survival?

You know what? None of us know! I think the main part of that magic is all of the characters that Eric created, in as far as The Winchesters, Sam and Dean and their family, and the fact that it never took itself too seriously. I think that was a huge factor in it. And you have to give a lot of credit to the casting. Sam and Dean, and now Castiel, especially guys you just like to watch on TV, have great chemistry. Any series that lasts a decade, there is always chemistry between the cast. They have an energy on-screen that you can’t fabricate; it just works.

Since we’re on the topic of television, was your work on the “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter,” in any way, some kind of subversive audition for the upcoming “Agent Carter” television project?

It was not at all subversive. In fact, at the time, I didn’t even know there was going to be a new series. It actually wasn’t until after the “One-Shot” was done that ABC started becoming interested in the series. Louis D'Esposito, who is the co-president of Marvel, had me do this first short, “Item 47”, and then a second one, which was “Agent Carter”. We had an amazing time and got along really well.

And he told me last summer at Comic-Con that there was a possibility this was going to become a series. And he said that if he was going to be involved, he wanted me to be involved, too. So…I can’t say anything more than that. But, there is a series, and Lou is the producer, and he may be directing some of the shows. I hope to be doing it, I really do.

You’ve had success with TV, you’ve had success with video games, and you’ve experienced success with film, so what is left out there for you to do?

Well, there’s still so much to do! I like to do different things. I really want to get into more songwriting and animation – real broad-audience kinds of things – song-driven animated films, like “Frozen”. I’m also a huge fan of epic, adventure movies, and I hope to be getting into some of that stuff. And Lord knows, I’d love to do a Marvel movie, when that comes around. I still have lots of stuff on my bucket list.

Keep up with Christopher Lennertz on Facebook, Twitter and at his official website.

The “Think Like a Man Too” soundtrack is currently available at iTunes, Amazon and Amazon Digital.

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