"She's freaking cool": "Idea of You" music supervisor talks St. Vincent, other perfect needle drops

Frankie Pine, who also worked on "Daisy Jones & the Six," discusses crafting intergenerational character playlists

By Nardos Haile

Staff Writer

Published June 2, 2024 10:30AM (EDT)

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in "The Idea of You" (Alisha Wetheril/Prime Video)
Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in "The Idea of You" (Alisha Wetheril/Prime Video)

Music heads love to curate vibes on playlists through a mixtape CD or Spotify or Apple Music playlist. 

That's what, music supervisor Frankie Pine does for movies and television shows like "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" the Emmy nominated "Daisy Jones & The Six" and now Prime Video's romantic comedy "The Idea of You," which drew nearly 50 million viewers in its premiere on May 2.

The movie, adapted from Robinne Lee's hit novel  of the same name, centers on the blossoming love story between Solène (Anne Hathaway) and Hayes (Nicholas Galitzine). Solène is a 39-year-old art gallery owner in Los Angeles who's also a recent divorcée. When she accompanies her teenage daughter to Coachella, she has an unexpected meet-cute with Hayes, the 24-year-old frontman to British boy band August Moon. Nothing in her life is the same after that.

"I don't think anybody wants to sit through two hours of non-stop pop music."

Music dominates "The Idea of You" — from the original music penned by pop music powerhouse songwriter, Savan Koetcha for the fictional band August Moon to Pine's curated needle drops and the characters' obsession with angry anthems.

In an interview with Salon, Pine told me that she knows she's nailed the perfect needle drop moment "when something affects me emotionally if I'm crying, or if it just brings such a big smile to my face, and I know that that's the right choice." Read more of our conversation below.

The following conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length

Hot off of “Daisy Jones & the Six” and other great projects, how did “The Idea of You" come to you?

I think initially it was "Oh my god Frankie's gonna be done with 'Daisy Jones,''' which was an Amazon project. "Let's get her on this one as well." Just knowing the on-camera aspect of things. So yeah, I met with [producer] Cathy [Schulman], and I met with [director] Michael [Showalter] and done deal.

What were the conversations like regarding the tone of the film? Was there a certain sound sought, especially since this would be music that was NOT the pop, boy band stylings of August Moon?

A lot of things! We wanted to be able to surround the film with obviously the great music that Savan [Kotecha] was doing for August Moon but also making it feel like it was all a part of everyday music. We wanted to cover a wide range of genres and a wide range of eras because we didn't want to pigeonhole the movie that it was going to be all boy band pop music. We wanted to surround it, and just give it a richness with lots of different styles. Michael has such a great ear and he's a big music head himself. It was those moments where you throw spaghetti up against the wall and you see what sticks, introducing him to new stuff as well as him coming to me like, "Hey, what do you think about something like this?" It was a really great collaboration and how we came up with the overall sound and even all the needle drops.

The Idea of YouAnne Hathaway and Ella Rubin in "The Idea of You" (Alisha Wetheril/Prime Video)Who were the first artists that came to mind to pursue? There’s a line about “aggressively talented female singer/songwriters” in the film . . .

We definitely wanted to be female-driven in a lot of areas because we wanted to show the power of Annie's [Hathway's] character. But also, I think one of the very first playlists that we made was — these are some bands that you might see at two o'clock in the afternoon in the Gobi tent at Coachella and so we started with lots of newbies and then other more seasoned artists but still cool and kind of underground. That's where Maggie Rogers came from and obviously, where St Vincent came from. Just kind of like exploring those not-so-heavy radio-driven artists that are amazing and make such an impact musically right now that are making a huge impact right now

“The Idea of You” really highlights St. Vincent with Izzy’s diehard love for her. Why was she the artist that you assigned Izzy to be obsessed with after her August Moon phase?

You know what, it was on a playlist, and Michael was the one that reacted to it. But for me, why I put her on the list was because she's freaking cool. I wanted to dive into what would her daughter listen to versus what she would listen to versus what August Moon would be listening to versus what the 40-year-old birthday party is playing. So I wanted to show like that — that there was a vast variety of styles of music that maybe it's an introduction to somebody new that doesn't know St. Vincent, or maybe it's somebody that's never heard of Maggie Rogers before, or maybe somebody that has never heard of many Minnie Riperton before. So there's all these kinds of ideas that we bantered around, and we really came to the conclusion that "I don't think anybody wants to sit through two hours of non-stop pop music. Let's throw in a variety of things that people can connect to and help us connect and really, truly fall into the realistic aspect of their love story."

How did St. Vincent feel about being part of this movie? Did she get the vision that you were going for?

It was after the fact! I got something sent to me about her, and her Spotify numbers jumped. St. Vincent actually posted something. And then even Maggie Rogers posted something. The thing that I love about my job is I love artists and I love songwriters. I got into doing what I do because I want to promote that. So anybody that I can help promote, anybody that I can help — 50 million viewers have now seen this movie — to experience something they haven't heard before. I think I've done my job. It makes me happy. 

Mae Stephens’ “If We Ever Broke Up” is such an earworm from the past year, especially on TikTok. How do you feel the song’s inclusion added to the story? Is it a nod to Gen Z viewers as well?

Absolutely that was our goal! Look I have a teenage daughter, I wanted her to hear music that she loved and as well as myself, music that I would relate to being her mother. I wanted to try to make sure that we were bridging that relationship as well as mother-daughter. That we can all love each other's music and not think, "Oh, this is old" or "That's too new." I wanted to also just highlight that relationship. And I remember when we were trying to figure out like, in the scene when they're driving, I was like, "Gosh, let's put St Vincent back in that spot." Because then it shows the connection that these two people have, and I felt that was the perfect kind of end of the circle of the kind of relationship showing this mother-and-daughter relationship is as strong as it is. I think that put a good button on it.

Maggie Rogers is another artist who may appeal to Izzy. Were there any common traits when it came to the more contemporary artists you pursued?

We had playlists for each of our characters. The Fiona Apple is when Solène was in college. We wanted to show that influence of music because not only is it just for them in their relationship, but that also kind of shows us the desire that Hayes has to find his own sound. You hear his backstory of how they're not interested in hearing what the band has to write or what they have to say. But when you find out deep down inside that he does have a lot to say, I love being able to show that even when you hear the different versions of "Dance Before You Walk." You have that slower version in the recording studio and then you have the more poppy version, but doesn't go so far pop that it keeps him in a lane that he feels comfortable in.

A surprising addition is South Korean DJ Peggy Guo’s “I Go.” I wasn’t familiar with her. What can you tell me about including that track?

You know what, that was definitely one of those things where I couldn't even send that song to them. This is like a picture editor found it online somewhere, which happens in every project. I think that's what's so great about the gig is that it's a conglomeration of a bunch of people doing what we all have access to — music. That was in I think pretty much in the first cut.

What’s great is that the soundtrack also includes older artists, maybe those that Anne Hathaway’s Solene may have listened to like Fiona Apple. In fact, you even build into the story that Fiona Apple’s “Paper Bag” is the song that played when she met her friend Sarah in college. Why that song, and were there other Fiona Apple songs discussed?

There were a lot of different artists discussed and we ended up with Fiona. We just felt like sonically it felt the best in the space. It was reflective of the time period. And it's just a great such a great-a** song, you know. But we talked about a lot of different artists from that time period like Edie Brickell. We talked about a lot of different female-driven artists from that would have been around her college age.

The movie had other artists like the Bangles, Minnie Ripperton, Earth, Wind and Fire on the soundtrack. What was the thought process behind including them? 

Without disclosing my age, but being a mom of a teenager, I kind of related to this story. On top of the fact that my husband is much younger than I am. I wanted to show that love can happen at any age and that there isn't this barrier of having a number that is attached to you that should withhold you from finding that right person. So even some of the older stuff from like the '70s. So I wanted the women in their 60s or 70s to watch this and go, "Man, I wish that would happen to me right now. Like what if I met some guy that was 50 years old?" I wanted everyone to buy into that love can happen at any age.

The Idea of YouNicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in "The Idea of You" (Alisha Wetheril/Prime Video)You create these perfect needle-drop moments, especially in those tense romantic scenes with Soléne and Hayes. How do you create those moments?

"If I'm crying, or if it just brings such a big smile to my face – then I know that that's the right choice."

A lot of it is trial and error, and then you find the one where it's like, "Oh, my God, I just love this moment." A lot of times, you get those moments, and you're like, "Oh my God, thank God." And then there are other times where, it's like, "Yeah, doesn't move me as much but it moves my director." That's just part of the job, is making sure that everybody's happy with all of the music. This job is so subjective in the sense that I'm not a picture editor, so I can't go in and technically make a picture edit but everybody has access to music. So everybody has an opinion about music and which of course makes our job much harder than I would say like a picture editor. Although, I would never want to even embark on picture editing. It just is finding those little those gems in those moments where it really just hits you. I get emotional about music. So when something affects me emotionally – if I'm crying, or if it just brings such a big smile to my face – then I know that that's the right choice.

What are some of the pressing challenges a music supervisor has to deal with on a movie like this that is so heavily reliant on music and original music? 

There's so many factors you've got you have the varying opinions, but you also have we have a budget, there's only so much money that you can spend on music. I always start with the important moments. Where is music going to make the biggest impact? And focus on those moments first, and then I try to fill in from there, because to me is where you want to spend your money in those bigger moments. A lot of times it's regardless of cost if something works, it just works. So it is finding those bigger moments, and making sure that you feel the impact in those moments, and then you can fill in to keep the momentum going.

How did it feel to see it all like all the hard work, put together, all the music come together?

The most joyous part for me is, because I was there, is when we started boy band camp for Nick and putting him through that process of teaching him to dance, getting the other guys in the room and creating this camaraderie to make them a truly believable boy band. When I see those moments, then I feel super accomplished like in the same way on "Daisy Jones,'" they worked to, in my mind, become a true band, and I feel the same way with August Moon. They are a true band because you can feel it and see it in the movie.

Who are you listening to? And who can you put us on to that you would like to share?

That's always so hard to answer because we're always pulled in so many different directions based on the project you're working on. So right now I'm deep into Americana, listening to a lot of Americana. I'm a huge fan of like, the Black Pumas. I'm a big fan of The War and Treaty and Allison Russell. I'm just kind of deep into Americana world right now with this new project. So that's my playlist right now.

Does what you listen to differ with every new project?

Oh, absolutely. At the time of "Daisy Jones," I was also doing "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," everything was all '70s. So all I listened to was late '60s and early '70s music, and they were happening at the same time. So I would make my list for "Daisy,' and then here's my more soft rock '70s for "Are You There? God, It's Me, Margaret."  I am a believer in keeping a constant love list of music. If I happen to land a project that could use that, then I know that I can go to my love list and find something on my playlist to start my process.

By Nardos Haile

Nardos Haile is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She’s previously covered all things entertainment, music, fashion and celebrity culture at The Associated Press. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Frankie Pine Interview Maggie Rogers Music Playlist Rom-com Soundtrack St. Vincent The Idea Of You