Interview with Tena Clark, Tim Heintz (The Waltons: Homecoming composers’)

“I feel like it’s something we really need during this time,” says Tena Clark, one of the composers of the TV movie “The Waltons: Homecoming”. The film is a remake of 1971’s “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” the TV movie that spawned the CBS drama that ran for nine seasons and won 13 Emmys. Check out our exclusive video interview with Clark and his co-composer Tim Heintz above.

The project came to the composers through their friendship with the film’s executive producers Sam Haskel and Hudson Hickman. “We all have something very strong in common, and that’s that we’re all from Mississippi. So we have this Mississippi connection,” Clark explains. Although the composers were excited about the opportunity – both were fans of the original series – they were initially concerned about the short time frame in which they had to work. However, Heintz argues that the team had to trust their instincts, which they ultimately saw as a help rather than a hindrance. “When you don’t have a lot of time to think too much, you just follow your instincts and it’s very instinctive,” he explains. “Fortunately, everyone responded positively to it.”

One of the most daunting tasks for the composers was how to reimagine the show’s classic theme song, originally composed by the Oscar and Emmy winner. Jerry Goldsmith. “We never tried to do better than that,” Clark says. “We looked at how to honor that and move forward.” Heintz explains how they wanted to avoid recreating the characteristic trumpet melody of the original theme. “We don’t want to try to copy and do the same thing,” he says. The new film theme begins subtly on the piano. “Then we developed it with strings and it sort of became its own sound. That also helped inform the sound of the film.

The CW recently announced that a second movie, “The Waltons’ Thanksgiving,” will premiere in November of this year, and Clark and Heintz are also returning to score that movie. The two composers look forward to the next chapter of their collaboration, while honoring the themes of the previous film. However, both agree that it’s important for the score to support the story rather than being too overt. “It’s kind of subliminal,” says Heintz. “We’re not hitting you over the head with this.” Clark agrees. “I feel like every time you watch a movie or TV and you’re distracted by something that’s going on with the score or the composer, I don’t feel like you’re doing your work.”

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