Heitor Pereira has worked as a composer on some of the biggest family projects of all-time. His work includes Curious George, Despicable Me 1 & 2 and Minions. His latest project, The Angry Birds Movie, is in theaters now.
“The music in The Angry Birds Movie was played by an amazing orchestra in England. They took to heart my direction and also what I described to them. The emotion and dedication comes across very clearly in the movie. It’s important to always acknowledge the dynamics of working with film directors and film producers—they supported the music. They protected it and their positivity fueled me wanting to give my best,” said Pereira in regards to his experience working on Angry Birds.
We spoke to Heitor Pereira about the Angry Birds franchise, what inspires him and what he considers to be his best work.
You have composed some memorable music in some of the more successful animated projects in recent years. What do you think about when putting together music for animated projects?
The responsibility is entertainment. Parents work hard all week and the kids had a lot of homework—so when they have a few moments to share and they go to a movie—I have a responsibility to that moment. That fuels my love for the project and my commitment to writing the best music I can for the picture. I want to help complete the picture, so the entertainment can be complete. Music for animation tends to help complete the delivery of a character’s speech or emotion. We need to add depth to an animated character’s performance and I think I help that. By doing that I am helping a family have a good moment. It has a lot to do with my responsibility to the audience.
Angry Birds is a huge franchise and you have a lot experience when it comes to working with properties with large followings. How do you handle the expectations and pressures that come with crafting the music for a big franchise like Angry Birds?
The fans seem to be happily surprised by what has been given to them in the movie. I did pay homage to the original Angry Birds theme from the game in the very beginning of the movie. But, when the story starts developing, the second music cue of the movie is original music. The movie music is completely different than the game music. The characters talk in the movie and they interact in a way that has much more depth. It’s something very different than the game.
How familiar with the game were you before getting involved with putting together the music for the movie?
I knew about the franchise. I played the game a few times. My kids played the game much more than me. I live such a busy live writing music that when I have a break I go bird watching or listen to music. I try and learn more about film and music in my free time. I travel a little. I have never been a video game player—I can’t give a lot of time to video games. Video games require a lot of time. It is crazy.
Does anything, or anyone, inspire you and your work?
Not really. All of them inspire me and none of them inspire me all at the same time. One thing I have achieved at this point in my career is that I can write what I think is necessary. I keep in mind, when I am writing a project, that the project could become a global project. First thing I think about is geography—I am inspired by music from everywhere. It’s everything.
Is there a genre of film you would like to have the chance to create for?
I would like to do more films with lots of emotion. I have a voice of my own that I think would be good with movies like that. I did a movie like that, If I Stay (2014), a few years ago, and it did quite well. I think that kind of material would be good for me.
Do you have any favorite film scores that you worked on? Do any of your film scores standout from the rest?
The ones I like are the ones that stayed with the movie and represent the sound of that movie. I like the Minions and Despicable Me music because the themes became so big. It’s played at the Universal Studios rides and it will be the theme in those film’s sequels.
The Angry Birds Movie is now playing!