EXCLUSIVE | 'Harley Quinn' will have a musical number featuring King Shark, says composer Jefferson Friedman
In an interview with MEA WorldWide, the composer for 'Harley Quinn' talks about an upcoming musical number, a musical episode for Season 3 and more
For all its zaniness, 'Harley Quinn' seems like the perfect series to feature a musical number and the show's composer Jefferson Friedman has confirmed just that. He said there will be a full musical episode planned for a potential Season 3. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), he talked about establishing characters with musical themes, the upcoming musical episode featuring King Shark (Ron Funches), and how 'Harley Quinn' has helped him deal with life under the COVID-19 pandemic.
He talks about which characters' themes were a challenge for him to write. "Weirdly, the Batman theme came out really, really quickly," he said. "It was the one that I was afraid of the most because it's a Batman theme. But when I actually sat down to write it somehow it just flowed out and I was really surprised at how easily it came. The one that I had the hardest time was Poison Ivy's theme. Not the Harley-Ivy love theme but the Poison Ivy big superhero theme. It's very hard to balance her being probably the most powerful character on the entire show with this kind of emo girl, secondary lead character, and sort of to balance her super villain/anti hero sound with something more personal and intimate. That took forever to figure out and I really wanted to get it right because she's such a huge part of the show. I think I cracked it after all."
He expanded on the Harley-Ivy love theme, which interviews have teased gets explored more this season. "First season, they have this very intimate little like Rhodes keyboard, a dreamy cue, anytime they're talking about their friendship or the love that they have for each other. That theme will continue throughout Season 2, but it gets bigger and more deep as the second season progresses, with different instrumentation and larger orchestration at times. It was really nice to be able to take this fairly small intimate seed that was planted in the first season and use it as a foundation for something that grows organically and, and becomes something really deep and epic, and that was just me trying to help tell the story." Not giving away specific details, he added, "You can probably take from what I just said that that's gonna be an important story arc in Season 2."
He then talks about the possibility of a musical episode on 'Harley Quinn.' "If we get renewed for season three, then we've talked about how we want to do a full musical episode. And I cannot wait if we can do that, because I definitely want to write 'You're a Damn Good Cop', for Jim Gordon."
The song, sung by Jim Gordon (Chris Meloni) in the season premiere, was apparently just something Meloni was ad-libbing, but Friedman can't wait for the chance to turn it into a full song. However, for those who can't wait that long, there's going to be a musical number coming up this very season.
"It'd be Episode 10 of Season 2, which is basically everybody's favorite episode," he said. "It gets real weird and there's a musical number, and let me see how I can say this without given too much away. It's a parody of a famous musical number from an animated movie that we all grew up watching, and it's King Shark based."
"It turned out fantastic," he continued. "The song is probably my favorite thing I've ever written. I think people are going to be really, really pleased with it."
He had more to say about the musical nature of the show. "Sometimes I treat these episodes like I would treat a musical in the sense that when a character first appears, you hear their theme, establish their character. I think when Mr Freeze first shows up and cracks through the doorway in Episode 1 of Season 2, it's a great example of establishing who the character is in a brief time, and in order to do it in that limited amount of time, you do have to sort of give the full presentation of what their team is now. Then you can use that material to play the scene, to develop the character, etc, etc."
Friedman also composes music for 'New Amsterdam' on NBC, whose latest season was cut short due to the coronavirus. "I think we were one of the first productions to shut down just because the location shoots actually took place in the hospital in New York so they canceled the last three episodes of the season. This wasn't super easy or fun but coincidentally, they had written an episode called 'Pandemic' before this all started. So the first week of quarantine, I had to write music for an episode of the medical drama that was called 'Pandemic' which, you know, was difficult, but we got through it." He says that the episode is, for the moment, shelved until the show can find an appropriate time to air it.
He ended the interview on a positive note. "Working on Harley is really therapeutic in some ways because I get the opportunity to go into this world that — even though it's set in basically a post-apocalyptic New York — is still this totally different environment, and it's nice to be able to stick your head in, down into a hugely bright, technicolor, crazy world, helping me get through."
'Harley Quinn' airs Fridays at 9 am PST on DC Universe.