Filmmaker Claire Denis and British group Tindersticks are longtime collaborators, having worked together since 1996’s Nénette et Boni. Tindersticks have scored her new film for A24, Stars at Noon, which is out October 14 and stars Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn and Benny Safdie. The soundtrack is also out October 14, and they’ve just shared the film’s gorgeous theme song.
“I was pushing it to be slower and slower, until it only just grooved, just on the cusp,” says Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples. “Finding that tempo was key for me and the final version was recorded live in one take. Julian Seigel arrived later and played the beautiful tenor sax line. I sent a rough mix to Claire in Panama, they were having production problems and she said the song cheered them all up – I heard all the crew singing along in the background.”
Listen to “Stars at Noon,” and read more from Stuart Staples about the score, below.
As for the film, it’s based on Dennis Johnson’s novel of the same name. Here’s the synopsis: “A young American journalist (Margaret Qualley) stranded in present-day Nicaragua falls for an enigmatic Englishman (Joe Alwyn) who seems like her best chance of escape. She soon realizes, though, that he may be in even greater danger than she is.” Watch the trailer below.
Stuart Staples on “Stars at Noon”:
I stood in CDG, terminal 2, talking to Claire on the cell phone. She was preparing to leave for Panama to start filming ‘Stars at Noon.’
‘And of course I need the song for the dance scene for the shoot,’ she said.
‘What dance scene? Is it in the script?’ I replied.
‘It’s in the new version of the script.’
‘Ah, do I have the new version?..’
The line faded and I was left considering this, something that I expected to hit me in the months ahead but was suddenly all over me.
’Stars at Noon’ had been in Claire’s thoughts for a long time, maybe even 10 years. We have had many conversations, I had a strong feeling for it and half a song somewhere in my mind.
I remembered the percussionist David Pattman, he played the bongos on the ‘Trouble Every Day’ score 20 years before. He was happy to hear from me and we quickly arranged a recording session with Dan McKinna on double bass and Ross Stanley on Hammond organ. We had a blast those days, taking the ideas apart, putting them back together in many different forms.
At the centre was the song ’Stars at Noon’ – I was pushing it to be slower and slower, until it only just grooved, just on the cusp. Finding that tempo was key for me and the final version was recorded live in one take. Julian Seigel arrived later and played the beautiful tenor sax line.
I sent a rough mix to Claire in Panama, they were having production problems and she said the song cheered them all up – I heard all the crew singing along in the background.
Stars at Noon:
3) Taxi Across Town
4) Hotel Bar
5) Dawn Walk Home
6) Los Periquitos
7) The Mercado
8) Motel Rain
9) The Costa Rican
10) Stars at Noon
11) Blood Hands
12) Burning Car
13) The Consultant
14) Blood Hands (version)
16) The Bridge
17) The Crossing
18) The Costa Rican (reprise)
19) Stars at Noon (instrumental)