Fortress’ Pemberton Mans Up

Warner Bros. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. hits the market this month with a score by a Fortress Talent Management composer Daniel Pemberton. It follows May’s San Andreas, with music by Andrew Lockington, as the second major release to feature music from the the upstart firm.

Fortress rocked the film and TV music this spring when it planted its flag with executive talent uprooted from First Artists Management and a cadre of high-flying clients, including Mychael Danna, Philip Glass, Alberto Iglesias, Laura Karpman, Clint Mansell, Rachel Portman, Gustavo Santaolalla Howard Shore and Marc Streitenfeld.

The new company, which is based in Calabasas, is led by Robert Messinger, Randy Gerston and Rich Jacobellis, representing composers for film, television and video games.

Lockington’s score was well-received by a writer at Film Music Magazine, who said it proved he has “the multiplex-swaying stuff to write on a grand playing field” with music that “thrillingly jolts from…musical destruction” to human emotion. He’s attached to director Brad Peyton’s Andreas follow-ups, the thriller Incarnate (September) and the video game-based Rampage (2017).

This past week Films On Wax gave Pemberton’s U.N.C.L.E. score a laudatory review that is as admiring of the themes as the action accompaniment (concluding that the work puts him at the forefront of composers that should be considered for future James Bond films, about as high a compliment as one can get in the realm of action trax). Meanwhile, Fortress’ Mario Grigorov has stepped up to the big leagues, vaulting from mainly indie films to David Yates’ $90 million Tarzan for Warners.

Telegraphing to the other biggies in the space — which in addition to First Artists, includes Gorfaine-Schwartz, Kraft-Engel and WME — that it’s game on!

In a statement issued in May on the launch of the new firm, Messinger characterized this as “a time of fundamental change in the film, television and music industries,” and clearly this company intends to be a catalyst as opposed to a collateral factor. He underscored the firm’s commitment not just to servicing existing clients, but  “to seek out the next generation of great storytellers from around the world.”

Messinger began his career as a publicist at Miles Copeland’s IRS Records and went on to found the now-defunct Blue Focus Management, where he worked with Jacobellis (who over the years has represented artist such as Bear McCreary and  Wendy and Lisa, and Gerston, who spent several years as James Cameron’s in-house music supervisor at Lightstorm Entertainment.

Other projects Fortress clients have in the works include a stage musical for Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth for which two-time Oscar winner (Brokeback Mountain, Babel) Santaolalla is writing the score.

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