(May 1, 2014– Los Angeles, CA) – Varèse Sarabande Records will release BELLE – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally and on CD May 13, 2014. The soundtrack features original score composed by Rachel Portman (THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, EMMA). Academy Award® winner Rachel Portman (Emma) delivers one of her most sumptuous scores for this period story of illicit love, BELLE.
“The score needed to support many different emotions within the story. At times it needed strong bold themes, at others, subtle almost ‘holding’ an atmosphere or feeling.” said Portman. “It is a very beautiful film with a fascinating story – both wonderful ingredients for a composer to work with! Using all the elements of the film, she came up with something really different,” said director Amma Asante of Portman. “At times, it absolutely brought tears to my eyes.”
Rachel Portman was born in west Sussex, England. She began composing at the age of 14 and read music at Oxford University. Whilst there, she became interested in writing music for student films and theatre productions. She gained experience writing music for drama in BBC and Channel 4 films such as ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT, Mike Leigh’s FOUR DAYS IN JULY and Jim Henson’s STORYTELLER series, however the majority of her work has been in film.
Rachel won an Academy Award® for her score for EMMA and Academy nominations for CHOCOLAT and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES. She has been fortunate to work with directors Roman Polanski (OLIVER TWIST), Norman Jewison (ONLY YOU), Jonathan Demme (BELOVED, TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE, MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE), Robert Redford (LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE), Mike Leigh (LIFE IS SWEET), as well as countless others. Her list of film scores includes NEVER LET ME GO, SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN, GREY GARDENS (HBO), THE DUCHESS, INFAMOUS, LAKE HOUSE, HART’S WAR, HUMAN STAIN, MARVIN’S ROOM, BENNY AND JOON, JOY LUCK CLUB, SMOKE, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY and WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD.
She has written a musical of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE as well as an opera of Saint Exupery’s THE LITTLE PRINCE for Houston Grand Opera and THE WATER DIVINER, a dramatic choral symphony commissioned for the BBC Proms concerts. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours. Rachel lives in London with her three daughters.
BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
“I loved the collaboration with Amma Asante,” said Portman. “We talked in depth about the story and the emotional threads running throughout. It was important to find a theme for Dido that expressed her as a person. The first scene I scored – or rather, that inspired the main theme – was where Dido and John walk in secret by the docks and John asks Dido about her mother. The music needed to play the subtext that John was falling in love with Dido.”
Fox Searchlight Pictures presents BELLE, in select theaters on May 2, 2014. BELLE – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from Varèse Sarabande Records will be available digitally and on CD on May 13, 2014.