Composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Robert Levon Been, has composed the score and original songs for writer and director Paul Schrader’s new film, The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, Wilem Dafoe and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Been’s unique music for the film includes several original songs and is deeply integrated into the picture.
Watch The Card Counter film trailer featuring “Arise Sun"
Schrader reached out to Levon Been last year about writing the end title theme for The Card Counter. What started off as a one-song project evolved into writing multiple songs used in the film as well as contributing much of the instrumental score and sound design.
Robert Levon Been first met the renowned director and award-winning screenwriter (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, American Gigolo) through his late father, Michael Been, co-founder and lead singer of The Call, who was cast in Martin Scorsese’s 1988 film, Last Temptation of Christ, for which Schrader wrote the screenplay. Robert, who was on location in Morocco during filming, was also given a small role in the film. Following shooting, Schrader asked Michael Been to score his 1992 film Light Sleeper in the true indie-DIY ethos with all hands-on deck, including Levon Been at 16 years of age.
“To work with Paul on The Card Counter this many years later is quite surreal. It was a unique challenge to help Paul’s vision of expanding the story through both soundscape and song to underscore the film’s characters and narrative. Once the film wrapped, however, it didn’t feel right to cease writing and exploring the songs. It felt like too much like a cliff hanger in my mind. Creating an album that could include both alternative and fully realized versions of the songs has been a huge undertaking, but what doesn’t kill you makes you Schrader,” says Robert.
Together with Schrader, Levon Been collaborated on sonically punctuating the evolving narrative of the film’s protagonist, played by Oscar Isaac (Star Wars, Ex Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis), illustrating the character’s inner turmoil and journey.
The Card Counter is not entirely Levon Been’s first foray into film scoring. In 2013, BRMC scored Jeff Baena’s dark horror-comedy, Life After Beth. Over the past few years, BRMC has also been thriving in the synch world with high profile placements in television, commercials and video games. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s seminal self-titled release.
Coinciding with the US release of the film, the album The Card Counter: Original Songs from The Motion Picture will be released in September via BMG Records. The film will begin rolling out internationally in October.
The Card Counter is a revenge thriller written and directed by Paul Schrader. The film stars Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan, Tiffany Haddish and Willem Dafoe, and will be released September 10 via Focus Features. Producers are Braxton Pope (The Trust, City of Gold), Lauren Mann (Swiss Army Man) and David Wulf (The Night Clerk, Inheritance) with Executive Producer Martin Scorsese. Other Executive Producers include William Olsson, Lee Broda, Ruben Islas and Stanley Preschutti. This marks the fifth collaboration between Schrader & Scorsese who previously worked together on Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ & Bringing Out the Dead.
The Card Counter, Original Songs by Robert Levon Been track listing:
2. Murder Hum
3. Mercy Rev
4. Arise Sun
7. Casino Floor 1 (Beta Testing)
8. Casino Floor 2 (Stable)
9. Smoke Ring
11. Determined Events
13. Mercy Of Man (featuring S.G. Goodman)
Follow Robert Levon Been:
Robert Levon Been is a producer, composer, singer songwriter and founding member of the band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with whom he has released 8 albums and toured the world with since 2001. With a dedicated following across Europe, the US, Australia and Asia, their record “Howl” has ranked many top album lists. In 2013, BRMC were featured in Dave Grohl’s Grammy-winning documentary, “Sound City.” 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of BRMC’s self-titled first album. Robert is currently producing and writing for multiple projects, dividing his time between Los Angeles and Vienna, Austria.