Entertainment & Arts

How Radiohead nearly wrote the soundtrack for Fight Club

Thom Yorke Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thom Yorke attends the premiere for Suspiria at the Venice Film Festival

Thom Yorke has revealed that Radiohead were offered the chance to soundtrack film Fight Club, but he turned it down because of his fractured mental state.

The star said the offer arrived "years ago", amidst the exhausting, disorientating success of Radiohead's third album, OK Computer.

"Ed [Norton] and Brad Pitt wrote to me and said, 'We really think you should do this,'" he told BBC 6 Music. "And I went, 'Nah, I can't'.

"I was completely gaga," he added.

Directed by David Fincher, Fight Club, is part-satire, part-horror; which follows a buttoned-down insurance specialist (Norton), who gets drawn into a secret society of men who reject materialism and embrace anarchy in an attempt to find human connection.

The cult film was eventually soundtracked by production duo The Dust Brothers - famous for their work with Beck and the Beastie Boys.

But Yorke said he had some regrets about turning the job down.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it then. But every time I see it, I go, 'awww,'" he told 6 Music's Matt Everitt.

Image copyright Rex / Shutterstock
Image caption Fight Club suffered at the box office but went on to become a cult favourite on DVD

The star has recently completed his first feature film score, for the horror movie Suspiria - a new take on Dario Argento's 1977 classic about an American student who heads to a German dance school, only to uncover a dark history of witchcraft and death.

Director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) has kept the action in 1977, giving Yorke the opportunity to "get all my Krautrock hats out and put those on".

He said the majority of the songs had been "sketched very quickly on piano"; and that he enjoyed exploring "the darker side of what could loosely be described as music.

"Using a studio, using sound to mess with people's heads and make you feel ill. That's my idea of a good time, listening-wise," he laughed.

So far, the singer has premiered two songs from the soundtrack: The dream-like piano ballad Suspirium and a shivery, menacing number called Has Ended, which features Yorke's 17-year-old son Noah on drums.

Although the music is tailored to the film, Yorke told 6 Music his views on Brexit and the rise of right-wing politics had seeped into the lyrics.

"The words are very political," he said. "There's a scene in the film where soldiers are marching and it's all tied up with the idea that 'we won't let this happen again' but here we are."

On Brexit, he likened the government to "lemmings running off the cliff".

"Our government sits there going, 'Stay with us, we know exactly what's going on, we are the will of the people,' yet they can't keep their own party together.

"Why aren't we in the streets?" he asked.

Image copyright Amazon Studios
Image caption Suspiria features Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton

Suspiria, which is due for release in November, has already provoked strong reactions at film festivals in Venice and Las Vegas.

Film critic Peter Sciretta called one scene - in which star Dakota Johnson possesses another girl's body - "very gruesome and hard to watch"; while Vulture's Emily Yoshida observed "some may not make it through that sequence".

Indeed there were several walk-outs when the film premiered in Venice; although many of the audience-members who made it to the end applauded and cheered.

Thom Yorke's soundtrack will be released on 26 October.

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