Film composers love to talk about insomnia. Prior to The Hollywood Reporter roundtable with five of the industry's most sought-after film scorers, the group -- Marco Beltrami, 48 (The Homesman),Danny Elfman, 61 (Big Eyes), John Powell, 51 (How to Train Your Dragon 2), Trent Reznor, 49 (Gone Girl), and Hans Zimmer, 57 (Interstellar) -- chatted at length about their preferred sleep aids. Most favor Ambien, but at least one opted for a method that might or might not be entirely legal (hint: It involves THC). Then there's Zimmer, who is such a night owl, he referred to the 1 p.m. start of the sit-down as "my morning time."
The discussion that followed touched on the technical, like less-than-ideal sound mixes, and the personal, including the admission that their lives are so hectic, they rarely get time to relax with family and listen to music for pleasure. Throughout, these awards contenders -- with 16 Oscar noms and two wins between them -- appeared to relish the opportunity to actually talk shop; after all, the composer's life is largely an isolated one, and the chance to trade war stories with other composers is rare. Says Elfman: "The unsureness of how other people feel I find very helpful, because I'm unsure of everything."