Composer Germaine Franco
Hit play below to listen to our extended Music for Moving Pictures interview featuring composer Germaine Franco.
Germaine Franco has the (sadly) rare distinction of being one of only two women with a high-profile film score this summer. In a crowded sea of superheroes, resurrected dinosaurs, and even an all-women heist movie—all scored by men, as usual—comes Tag… a comedy based on a true story about a bunch of guy pals who’ve been playing a nonstop game of the childhood classic since their childhood.
It’s the first R-rated comedy ever scored by a woman—and Franco is only just beginning to break down doors to what’s pretty much always been an all-boys club. She grew up on the border of Mexico and Texas, and started smashing stereotypes at an early age by taking up the drums. She became a voracious, versatile student of jazz, funk, rock, classical, and Latin music. A winding journey through teaching, playing gigs, and writing for theatre took her to Hollywood, where she ended up working for last month’s guest, Solo composer John Powell—programming, arranging, orchestrating, performing, and more.
Germaine Franco with Tim Greiving
After ten years with Powell, Franco took her first big solo flight with the Sundance hit, Dope: an indie coming-of-age film about a group of African-American teenagers in Inglewood. Then came Coco. The Pixar smash, about a Mexican boy who loves music and journeys through the Land of the Dead, was scored by Michael Giacchino—but Franco took on an outsized role as songwriter, arranger, and orchestrator… putting her musical heritage to perfect use, and putting a real stamp on the soundtrack.
Earlier this year, Franco scored the Starz drama series Vida, about two Mexican-American sisters. And she recently scored the new Kung Fu Panda attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood—which is fitting, since she worked on that film series’ scores with John Powell. And now Tag, directed by Jeff Tomsic and starring Jon Hamm and Ed Helms—which is the highest-profile, big studio movie she’s scored yet… and it promises much more to come.
Tag is in theaters now, and you can find the score—along with the soundtracks for Coco, and other scores by Franco like Margarita—on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your music. If you’re in Southern California, you can hear new music by Germaine Franco performed at the upcoming Future is Female concert, September 4th at The Wiltern. The concert will also feature new music by Ronit Kirchman (The Sinner), Cindy O’Connor (Once Upon a Time), Heather McIntosh (Compliance)… and an upcoming guest on this podcast: Mudbound composer Tamar-kali.