Composing 'The Impossible'
November 20, 2012

Composing 'The Impossible'

MADRID, SPAIN — Composer Fernando Velázquez has been working alongside director J.A. Bayona since 2002. Their latest collaboration is the box office success, The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. The film’s story centers around the true story of a family of five caught in one of the worst natural catastrophes, the 2004 Thailand tsunami. 

“The responsibility was huge, and the expectation was immense,” Fernando comments. “We are dealing with real dramatic events, which affected thousands of people… so we tried to be as respectful as possible.”

To help capture the emotional experience of the incident, the film had to rely on music to express feelings that cannot be told with words.  Maria Belón, the mother (played by Naomi Watts) of the surviving family, visited the London Metropolitan Orchestra as they recorded the film’s score at Abbey Road Studios. It was there she addressed the orchestra saying, “From the moment Bayona told us he wanted to make a movie about this story, we said that this was not our story, that it was the story of many people and not everyone had been as fortunate as us. The end of the movie tries to explain that, which cannot be said with words. But you can because only art can manage to do it.”

To accomplish this intimacy, Fernando used a chamber orchestra of only a few pieces, and upwards of 44 pieces for larger cinematic moments. For the post production process he used Cubase after sketching themes on paper. After Cubase, he transitioned to Sibelius.  Finally, his colleagues, Steve MacLaughin and Marc Blanes, finished the recording and mix in Pro Tools.  

“The biggest challenge of the score was to find the balance between emotion, storytelling and respect… once we found this thread we had to decide how big or small it should be. Nowadays, the cut is often not closed until the very last moment, so you have to be very flexible to adapt the score to updated cuts. This adaptability may be the biggest challenge at times,” Fernando reflects. His favorite part of the mixing process is when a live orchestra is involved — to see the music come alive.  

The Impossible releases nationwide in the US on December 21st via Summit Entertainment.  Visit for more information and to watch the trailer.  The score for The Impossible is available in the US on iTunes and Amazon via Lionsgate Music. Fernando Velázquez recently finished Mama – a supernatural thrilled directed by Andy Muschetti, produced by Guillermo del Toro, and stars Jessica Chastain.