Anton Sanko made some intriguing choices when it came to composing the score for Rabbit Hole.
Rather than go a standard route, he picked up his guitar and plucked out music that was equally haunting and lilting. Certainly, Sanko sonically explores the film’s theme of harrowing loss, but his composition exudes an ethereal quality that’s oddly uplifting. Rabbit Hole examines how a seemingly happy couple—Becca [Nicole Kidman] and Howie [Aaron Eckhart]—cope with the death of their son. It would’ve been easy for Sanko to go maudlin, but his score tastefully deals with the serious subject matter while soaring above the darkness at all the right moments. It all comes from his mastery of the six strings and deep musical empathy.
Anton Sanko sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about his use of classical guitar in Rabbit Hole, getting inside Nicole Kidman’s head, and so much more.
Typically, do the characters or story dictate the music’s direction more?
It unfolds as you go along. In this case, a lot of the score was unintentionally driven by Nicole Kidman’s character. She’s got a very specific internal dialogue going on that I felt the score could comment on and support. The score became her voice because she’s living in this world of optimistic denial. She possesses a desire to move ahead in her life and forward from what’s already happened to them. That’s what I wanted the score to address and speak about.
The score is very ethereal and dreamy too.
That is an element of Nicole’s character, and I felt like that was something I could latch onto as well. In a way, she and her husband are both in a suspended state of animation. They’re addressing it in different ways. “Dreamy” might be one word that’s appropriate to describe it. We were very careful not to let the music have any sharp edges or poke out too much. Everything was constrained within a certain frequency range and that contributes to that dreamy quality you’re referring to.