Video interview with ‘Ozark’ composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans

[WARNING: The above interview and following story contain spoilers about Season 4 of “Ozark.” Watch and read at your own risk.]

There’s no doubt that the fourth and final season of “Ozark” was going to be the show’s most ambitious endeavor yet. For composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurrians, who received their first Emmy nominations for the Netflix drama’s third season in 2020, it meant they would have a chance to go further with their score — or so they thought. “I remember we were like, ‘This is the fourth and final season, I wonder if we can push [the score] to get a little bigger than usual,” Bensi recounts in a new online chat with Gold Derby (watch our exclusive video interview above). “I remember the answer that comes back to us [being] like, ‘No, stay in the same world and add new stuff, but really stay in the same world. We don’t need to depart from what we have been.

Even though the composers were denied the aspect of going any further, Bensi admits that their ultimate mission provided him and his colleague with the fun challenge of finding “a new way to grow the score ever so slightly. and going somewhere without it sounding like a whole new score. Building on that, Jurriaans explains that there was a lot of thrust from the existing sound, revealing: “Darker things got even darker , more distorted – we kicked things off through distortions.” He also shares that there was more strings used and usually just more emotional compositions, especially towards the end of the season.

SEE our interview with “Ozark” cinematographer Shawn Kim

A major turning point of the season is in the eighth episode, titled “The Cousin of Death”, which chronicles the aftermath of Darlene (Lisa Emery) and Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) tragic deaths and follows a grieving and vengeful Ruth (Julia Garnier) as she travels to Chicago to track down their killer, Javier “Javi” Elizonndro (Alphonse Herrera). After she shoots him in Clare Shaw’s office (Katrina Lenk), CEO of Shaw Medical Solutions, she descends into the parking lot of the company building, accompanied by a haunting score by Bensi and Jurriaans. For this sequence, the composers took a pre-existing Ruth-themed composition and “deepened” and “darkened” it, Jurriaans divulges. He expands, “Most of Ruth’s material had an innocence, though… she’s complicit, she rolls and deals – but in her fun Ruth way. But when she next kills Javi in ​​this episode, it turns into something much darker… The wheels of inevitability are turning and she won’t come back from this one.

Indeed, Ruth cannot believe it. Instead, her vindictive act comes back to bite her after Camila Elizonndro (Veronica Falcon), Javi’s ruthless mother, learns that Ruth killed her son and shot her in the series finale, titled “A Hard Way to Go”. After the gunshot and the scene cuts to the Byrdes (jason batman, Skylar Gaertner, Sofia Hublitz and Laura Linney) during their fundraiser, a sad and sweet score comes into play, capturing the devastation felt in the wake of Ruth’s tragic loss. “We are allowed to exist in this space where we can be with Ruth,” says Bensi, who stresses that the score is neither “outpouring” nor “too constrained.” He continues: “It’s just a place, like a little oasis, where the cello can be free and the piano can be free. And we can express ourselves and grow and move – and it’s like one of the only times on “Ozark” where we’ve been able to do that. Jurriaans adds, “There’s a lot of space in those musical beats, and then there are quiet moments where it’s really just you and the image — I think [that] in general is a hallmark of the ‘Ozark’ score which has always been powerful.

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It should be noted that Bensi and Jurriaans also served as composers on HBO Max’s new miniseries “The Staircase,” which dramatizes the actual events covered in the French docuseries of the same name created by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and explores the life of Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), his sprawling North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette). Some of their other recent TV credits include ‘Night Sky’, ‘Outer Range’, ‘Pieces of Her’ and ‘Tokyo Vice’.

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