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Great Expectations

Friday 30 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Tori was invited to work with composer Patrick Doyle on the soundtrack of Alfonso Cuaron’s Great Expectations for Miramax, a modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. She was attracted by the fact that it was a real collaborative work and spent three weeks in London to write and record "Siren" with the composer and she also laid vocals on two instrumental tracks that we get to hear at various moments of the movie.

However, though "Siren" has become one of her fans favorite B-Sides, Tori had bitter memories of the experience for different reasons: first, she experienced health problems and discovered she had miscarried a second time and her doctor barely allowed her to complete the project. Then, she was unhappy with the way the studio behaved toward her work. “I didn’t enjoy doing Great Expectations in the end because it got politically weird and people weren’t forthright anymore," she explained in an AOL chat in September 1999. "and, you have to understand something, having a studio tell me what to do after we’d made an agreement isn’t what I considered having integrity. So, in my world, we have a team of people and we talk about things and we make decisions based on the creativity. And we sometimes have our hiccups and stuff, but musicians are sometimes just extraneous for film people and I don’t see writing songs as extraneous. Obviously, it’s not the center of the film, but there needs to be a level of respect and some film people forget that. When I remind them of that, they seemed quite shocked. When in actuality, I call it just bad manners.”

Though she didn’t give any detail about what happened exactly, it might seem likely she was unhappy with the way the song was used in the movie. Indeed, it’s a really powerful song but the way she was used in that scene wasn’t cinematic at all and didn’t really give it justice. It’s a nice addition to the soundtrack for sure, but the editing of the scene just doesn’t really fit.