Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul already revealed that their song “A Million Dreams,” now featured in The Greatest Showman, was the song they used as an audition sample for director Michael Gracey. But what came next in composing songs for Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Keala Settle, and more, was a creative collaboration.
As the writing duo expanded their score, they relied on Gracey’s vision to guide them.
From the beginning, Gracey told Pasek and Paul: “This is a story that’s inspired by P.T. Barnum. It’s not a biopic. Think of P.T. Barnum as Steve Jobs as Jay-Z as Kanye, these people who are innovators and MCs, larger than life figures,” says Paul in the video interview above. “Michael always talked about it [as]: Is this a straight adaptation of his life? No. This is a movie that P.T. Barnum would have made about himself.”
The duo felt empowered to write flashy numbers with bold sound because “we knew we were writing to these very bold colors and daring visuals,” says Paul.
“His visuals were very sweeping and epic,” says Pasek. “You got a sense you could write a really big joyful song with a lot of color and its vivid and it will match what you’re seeing.”
Watch the full video interview above to hear more about writing music to match the world of The Greatest Showman, now in theatres nationwide.