Arriving in New York City as an aspiring rock guitarist at age seventeen, composer Ronen Landa was enthralled by classical and experimental music which led to writing songs and chamber works.
This Emmy season, Landa composed the main theme and original music for Jason Woliner’s wildly-entertaining docuseries, “Paul T. Goldman.” From scoring David Marmor’s Netflix chart-topping thriller 1BR to Nicholas McCarthy’s horror hits The Pact, Landa has built a diverse portfolio of work that continues to expand across film and television.
His latest project is an inexplicably odd tale that dates back over a decade. In 2009, the book “Duplicity” was self-published by Mr. Goldman on Amazon, an astounding 323 pages of his sensationalized account of his failed marriage. Specifically, it gives a first-person account of how Mr. Goldman was targeted by his wife and fell victim to her double life.
After penning the book, Goldman set his sights on adapting the book to the screen. A tweet from Goldman to director Jason Woliner kicked off this wild journey that evolved into a six-episode limited series on Peacock. “Paul T. Goldman” is part documentary and part reenactment as Goldman delivers straight-to-camera recollections amid the wildly entertaining reenactments. The series is a compelling drama and mystery and so much of that comes from the music, provided by Landa.
Awards Focus spoke to Landa about all things “Paul T. Goldman,” being in the Emmy conversation for score, and what he’s tackling next.
Awards Focus: For “Paul T. Goldman,” this story is one of a kind and it’s incredibly quirky. Can you talk about finding the tonal equivalent of that musically for the main theme?
Rogen Landa: The series asks questions about Paul T. Goldman at every turn, and the idea behind the main theme was to encapsulate that energy. Much like Paul himself, it has an enigmatic quality and we can sense that there is a powerful intensity just below the surface. As a representation of the character, I felt it was critically important to record a live orchestra for the theme; the series depicts Paul as a man who demands his story be heard and indeed be given the full Hollywood treatment. In musical terms that carried directly to the glamour and thrill of a large ensemble.
AF: How did you first get involved in the project and what conversations were had regarding the music and overall tone?
Landa: One of the producers invited me to submit my materials and I had an initial conversation with director Jason Woliner and the producing team. We talked about the various emotional worlds that Paul occupied in both the documentary reality and also in the filmed narrative elements. It became clear early on that the music would be a manifestation of Paul’s perception of his own story — dramatic, cinematic, and always sincere.
AF: With director Jason Woliner, how did you find collaborating with Jason and producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Landa: Jason is absolutely revered as comedy director, and rightly so— his genius lies in his ability to use comedy as a pathway for layered, rich storytelling that uncovers deeper truths.
Having the opportunity to collaborate with someone of his particular talent and thoughtfulness is a gift, but in this case it was so much the more so because Jason and the whole producing team were so joyful and fun to work with! I couldn’t ask for kinder or more supportive collaborators.
AF: It’s incredible to see some people reprising their real life roles in this insane story, what was your reaction to learning about this story and subsequently seeing the footage of the recreation?
Landa: When I first saw the pilot episode my jaw hit the floor. Just absolutely unlike anything I’d ever seen! It’s the great privilege of my career to be able to tell stories with music, and once in a while a story comes along that is so incredibly special — it just resonated immediately. The comedy, the pathos, the insanity of it all. I think my love of this series is reflected in the music we created, I am immensely proud of how it all came together.
AF: The documentary elements are utilized in ways I’ve never seen, it’s a marvel how it all came together. Do you imagine you’ll ever work on another project like this?
Landa: I agree that it was absolutely magical, and the many obstacles Jason faced in getting it made ultimately seemed to help it become the series that it is. And yes, of course, there is more exceptional storytelling out there— and I would definitely love to become the go-to composer for trailblazing and brilliant filmmaking!
At the same time this series will always stand out as a truly unique example of television, and I’m immensely grateful that I had a part in it.
AF: What has the reception been like for you going into Emmy season?
Landa: It’s exciting to be a part of this great rush of artistic efforts being shared across the industry right now. Other television pros have been so enthusiastic about Paul T. Goldman, it’s been a tremendous show of love. And more specifically I’ve been blessed with much appreciation for the music I composed from fans, musicians and fellow storytellers.
AF: What are you working on next and where can we find you on social media?
Landa: I am making a lot of music these days! On the comedy side I’m collaborating with the great writer Rob Kutner on a musical and also a parody song for The Novelizers, a podcast hosted by Andy Richter. I’m also composing for an upcoming horror film and creating orchestral arrangements for an incredible soul-rock artist’s upcoming album (I can’t wait to share more about these!) You can find me on Instagram ant Twitter at @ronenlanda and @ronenlandamusic on facebook.
“Paul T. Goldman” is available to stream on Peacock. For more information, please visit www.ronenlanda.com