Tamar-kali, who wrote the moving, spare score to Palmer — a drama starring Justin Timberlake as an ex-convict who finds himself in charge of a young boy named Sam — recalls the challenges of composing in a pandemic below.
The film's director Fisher Stevens, called me. He had been working with someone else and needed to make a change. I knew I would be spending part of my summer on my family’s compound in South Carolina. I had just had quite a bit of work, and I hadn’t imagined that I would be scoring something at the moment because there were a lot of things that COVID-19 had knocked out of the water.
I asked, “What are you hearing?” and he said, “Guitar and cello.” I watched the film and thought it would be a great palette. We had our spotting session outside in Brooklyn before I left for South Carolina. I like to go up in my hidy-hole, have that initial connection, then go do my work.