Taylor Swift's 'Hunger Games' song, and an upset union [Audio]
This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Taylor Swift is excited about her new release for "The Hunger Games" movie, but it seems someone is playing a few dissonant notes.
The pop-country singer-songwriter revealed on her Twitter page last week that "Safe & Sound," a new song featuring the group the Civil Wars, will be included in "The Hunger Games." But it seems that an American Federation of Musicians honcho, while not singling out Swift, had a bone to pick with the film's producers.
Ray Hair, international president of the union, took to YouTube to express his disappointment that Lionsgate chose to record music for the film in London instead of employing musicians in the U.S. under AFM contracts.
"For the 'Hunger Games,' Lionsgate is paying the actors, the writers, the directors, the stage crew and the other workers according to agreements with their unions. But for AFM musicians: zero, zilch, nada. For the Americana, Appalachian-style music that the movie needs, Lionsgate is going to Europe so that the company can escape having to pay AFM healthcare and pension contributions."
Ouch. Appalachian-style music? There's merit in that, because part of the post-apocalyptic tale is set in the rural District 12, home of main characters Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).
Commenters are choosing sides in the musical debate, with some standing with the AFM president while others take a "get over it" attitude, pointing out that some of the cast members are British and that London has some of the best and most iconic soundstages and musicians in the world.
But back to Swift: There's also debate about which scenes this soft and sweet song could be used for. We'll try not to spoil the movie for those of you who haven't read the books (get on that, people), but -- though there's already a song in place -- one haunting and tragic scene comes to mind.
You know the one.
Where do you stand? Listen to the tune, below, and let us know in comments.
[For the record, 1:15 p.m., Dec. 27: The headline on this post originally read "Taylor Swift's 'Hunger Games' song has a union upset." Though AFM President Ray Hair has criticized Lionsgate for its choice to record "The Hunger Games" music in London, he did not refer specifically to Swift's new song. The headline has been changed to reflect that.]
-- Jevon Phillips
Left photo: Taylor Swift. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Right photo: "The Hunger Games'" Jennifer Lawrence, playing Katniss Everdeen. Credit: Lionsgate