SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO
In Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the series begins a new chapter. In the drug
war, there are no rules - and when the US government begins to suspect that
cartels have started trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent
Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro),
whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious
ways. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin's daughter to inflame the conflict - but
when the girl is seen as collateral damage, her fate will come between the two
men as they question everything they are fighting for.
Columbia Pictures presents a Black Label Media presentation, a Thunder Road
Pictures / Black Label Media Production, Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Starring
Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo,
and Catherine Keener. Directed by Stefano Sollima. Written by Taylor Sheridan.
Based on Characters Created by Taylor Sheridan. Produced by Basil Iwanyk, Edward
L. McDonnell, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill, and Trent Luckinbill. Executive
Producers are Ellen H. Schwartz, Richard Middleton, and Erica Lee. Director of
Photography is Dariusz Wolski, ASC. Production Designer is Kevin Kavanaugh.
Editor is Matthew Newman. Costume Designer is Deborah L. Scott. Music by Hildur
Guđnadottir. Music Supervisor is Jonathan Watkins. Casting by Mary Vernieu, CSA
and Marisol Roncall, CSA.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association
of America for strong violence, bloody images, and language. The film will be
released in theaters nationwide on June 29, 2018.
A NEW CHAPTER
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is an intense and relevant action-thriller propelled
by two antihero protagonists who venture deep into the merciless border world of
drug dealing and American foreign policy.
The film reteams Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, as the mysterious
attorney-turned-assassin Alejandro, with CIA operative Matt Graver, portrayed
once again by Josh Brolin, to fight the cartels. Alejandro is tasked with
kidnapping a drug kingpin's daughter to exacerbate an already volatile
situation, a mission which ends up having very personal stakes for him.
"Alejandro's able to relive in some ways what happened to his own daughter,"
says Del Toro, "so that starts to change something in him."
The fate of the young girl, Isabela, hangs in the balance, forcing Alejandro and
Matt to go toe-to-toe, each facing a moral dilemma in the middle of the drug war
they are escalating. Ultimately, they must choose between her life or winning
"They stage this war, underestimating the possible consequences," says director
Stefano Sollima. Born and raised in Italy, Sollima has built his body of film
and television work around often fine line that exists between cops and
criminals with such projects as popular television series "Gomorrah" and "Romanzo
Criminale (Crime Novel)", as well as award-winning features A.C.A.B.: All Cops
Are Bastards and Suburra.
For Denis Villeneuve, the acclaimed director of the first film, Sollima was an
inspired choice who delivered "a knockout. Sollima did a masterful follow up to
Sicario. I was blown away!
In the sequel, the characters face choices far beyond any they've faced before.
"Alejandro makes a decision based on conscience and ends up disobeying his
orders and, in a way, he declares war with his partner," says Del Toro. "By
doing this, Alejandro and Isabela are on their own."
At the start of the film, Matt Graver has returned from working in the Middle
East and is given a new assignment from his CIA bosses, drawing him back into
the border world. "In short, he needs to create chaos in order to ultimately
have justice. And control," Brolin says.
"Matt is a believer that the end justifies the means, and morality is only
relevant as it relates to your side, and it's a zero-sum game for him," says
screenwriter Taylor Sheridan.
To get the job done, Graver connects with Alejandro, the only man he knows who
can help him get the job done right.
"They face a series of consequences that lead them to question their own
integrity and where they fit into the larger political agenda," says Brolin.
"I think one of the largest themes in the movie is humanity. Alejandro, who was
sort of devoid of humanity in the first one, rediscovers his humanity, in a way.
And Matt, in a similar situation, discovers his humanity in a set of very
unusual circumstances," says producer Edward L. McDonnell.
The script was once again written by Academy Award nominee, Taylor Sheridan.
The producers were thrilled to have Sheridan on board to craft another engaging
Says producer Molly Smith, "These were such iconic characters, and Taylor had a
great idea to take them on the next chapter of their journey."
"Taylor's got the modern western voice that people are craving," says producer
Trent Luckinbill of Black Label Media. "We asked, 'What would you like to see
these guys do and what story would you like to tell?'"
Sheridan explains how this idea reflects our current world and the volatile
nature of the drug trade. "There's a changing landscape in America as far as the
legalization of certain drugs, and an infusion of prescription drugs becoming
recreational drugs of choice, that has left the cartels looking for a new
product to sell," Sheridan says. "And I look at what that product is."
That product, now, is human lives: the trafficking of people across the border.
"This is where the war on drugs has gone, and it's dark and heartbreaking, but
powerful," says producer Molly Smith. "It's very real."
The topic of human trafficking resonated with director Stefano Sollima beyond
just the US/Mexico border. "I think this is a topic that's actually real all
over the world. Not just here in the US. It's the same in Europe. It's how
people are trying to escape from really poor places, and the dream to be in
another place where they hope to have a better life. Yet unfortunately, this is
rarely the case," he says.
After the critical acclaim he received for his Italian TV series "Gomorrah,"
about the internal power struggles in a crime syndicate, and for the Italian
crime thriller Suburra, which connected Italian politics and organized crime,
Sollima was eager for his American feature debut. "I tend to gravitate towards
the concept of the anti-hero, and how the motivation behind a character doing
something seemingly bad is never simple," says Sollima. "There is often a very
fine line between criminality and law enforcement. This is a theme I've explored
a lot in my past work with projects like 'Gomorrah' and 'Suburra.' I thought
Taylor Sheridan and Denis Villeneuve created such a fascinating example of this
in the first film, and I was very excited by the opportunity to revisit those
themes here in a deeper way. Taylor's strong characters gave me an opportunity
to create a piece of entertainment that also deals with my fascination with the
grey areas of law and order in a really intelligent way,"
Says producer Edward L. McDonnell, "Stefano was incredibly respectful of the
first film and wanted to keep that dynamic going, with the ability to put his
own stamp on the movie. He's definitely his own director; he's not copying
anybody else. He came to the room and he understood who Matt and Alejandro were
right away, and what the dynamics were between them."
Screenwriter Sheridan was likewise impressed. "It's very realistic and it's very
unsentimental," he says. "We don't want to glorify the violence and we don't
want to trivialize what people are going through. And so you need a filmmaker
who's unflinching, who's not afraid to show some of these shocking things that
take place, and yet is not going to enhance them for the sake of the story."
Stylistically, Sollima assessed the style of the Sicario saga as being quite
close to his own filmmaking style: "This project gave me a chance to use action
and, in particular, physical effects, rather than visual effects, to put the
actors in the moment and help dramatize the tough issues in the story. It's one
of my favorite ways to work."
World-class DP Dariusz Wolski, known for his work on the Pirates of the
Caribbean movies and The Martian, was chosen to bring Sollima's vision and the
world of Sicario to life.
"We're doing wide shots, close-ups. We definitely are trying to show a scale.
Stefano is very much about scale. We're putting the characters into big
conflicts in the environment, in the desert, in the border crossings," says
The way Sollima planned it, he would shoot "long, long takes, and stay with our
characters, so we are not going to lose the characters even in the super massive
moments of the movie," says the director.
The tense, sometimes fraught relationship between Alejandro and Matt is at the
heart of the Sicario saga. "You love the honesty and realism and how these
characters are portrayed," says Sollima. "You can love them, but they are not
always heroic. They kill people. They are brutal, they are tough. They are
human. So by showing their humanity and their souls, it makes them sympathetic
Josh Brolin adds, "We have two masculine protagonists that are sort of
antagonists, but they're not. So that to me is what's interesting about this
film. You have these guys that are good guys, but they're not really good guys.
And they're dealing with something really bad, but they're dealing with people
who are in such poverty that you understand."
Benicio Del Toro reflects on Alejandro's arc in Sicario: Day of the Soldado:
"Alejandro's new assignment is to start a war between drug cartels. This means
he has to pretend he's part of a drug cartel, and by doing so, in a way he has
to reenact what they did to his own child. Through this journey, we learn that
Alejandro has a conscience and he becomes the protector of the innocent victim."
"There's an emotional roller coaster, not so much about political issues, but
about the human spirit," says Del Toro. "It's more about the characters and more
about their plan, than about the big issues."
"To watch Benicio immerse himself in a character is an incredible experience,"
says Sollima. "It's like he enters so completely in the character that
everything he does makes sense, not for himself, but for the character."
Says Sheridan, "It's as though the souls of every victim of drug violence came
together and formed one man whose mission is to seek vengeance and justice for
them. It was really the idea behind Alejandro that that much sadness and pain
conformed into a palpable rage that's then turned outward."
"Benicio elevates every movie he's in," says Luckinbill. "He is a weight and
power in every scene he's in. He can say so much without saying anything. He can
cut his eyes and carry a scene."
Del Toro studied the Day of the Soldado script carefully, and would continue to
scrutinize it every night during filming. Says producer Basil Iwanyk, "He's
thinking about this movie 24/7, and not just his character. He's thinking about
the entire movie. He wants it to feel real. He wants it to feel emotional. He
wants it to work. And he is just so all-in, which you have to love."
Executive producer Erica Lee says, "I think Alejandro will always be the soul to
the Sicario movies. He is the heart that beats within them. He is our
protagonist and antagonist, which is very nontraditional. Benicio just brings so
much weight to the movie. I think you're always going to want to watch him and
Josh Brolin says, "Sicario: Day of the Soldado takes very real scenarios and
real possibilities, and even a real current event, and turning it into a
condensed story that I think is beautiful, tragic, and has incredible scope. And
it's respectful - respectful of the emotions that people go through."
On a personal level, "When you see Matt for the first time in this movie,
something's shifted, something's changed, something's maybe a little more
deepened, at least on a dirty scale. He's a little darker than he was before,"
describes Brolin. "There's a lot of hubris and ego."
At the same time, he says, "There's a groundedness about him. He's very
compassionate. Especially at the end of the movie. You get to see a part of him
that you've never seen before. And I like being able to challenge myself in
that. I love seeing a character with massive hubris who suddenly has to touch
vulnerability, and you see that kind of fluctuation."
Matt Graver, brimming with witty cynicism yet ruthless when necessary, drives
the storyline of Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Sheridan notes, "The fascinating
thing about Josh as an actor is his range and ability to find ways to impart
humor and yet real intensity in the same moment, and it seems to enhance the
character's depth. He effortlessly gives a character three dimensions and real
As for Matt's relationship with Alejandro, "There's a lot more that's personally
revealed in this film between the two of us. Which just makes it more intimate
and more personal, and I think you care about these characters more because of
"Josh is an incredible human being, and as an actor he has a really important
skill - he understands the entire scope of the movie. He knows perfectly where
his character is in the moment, and also where all the other characters are.
This gives him a sort of higher point of view that is pretty rare," says Sollima.
The role of the sheltered 12-year-old Isabela Reyes, daughter of a cartel
kingpin, is played by Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, 100 Things
to Do Before High School). Comments Moner, "Isabela and Alejandro's relationship
is really interesting, because you basically watch it develop before your eyes.
First, he has his doubts about her. He really couldn't care less about her.
Isabela feels the same about him - she just wants to get home. And then, as the
story progresses, you really start to see them connect."
It was a crucial role to cast. McDonnell says, "She is the innocent, but is
surrounded by the corrupt. And so, it's a question of being able to bring that
innocent to a place where she's safe. And both Matt and Alejandro, at the
beginning of the movie, aren't so sure she is somebody that they can rescue."
As Isabela becomes a reminder to Alejandro of the daughter he lost, says Iwanyk,
"He extrapolates what it would have been like if she did survive."
Del Toro, who spends much of the film as her protector, was impressed with the
Moner's talent. "She has that gift, the connection between intellect and
emotions. She's like an old soul," he says.
Brolin adds, "There is something about her - she's so good. Once in a while
there are actors that come along and have immediate access, who can channel
emotion in their performance with ease, and she has it."
For Catherine Keener (Capote, Being John Malkovich), it was a meeting with
director Stefano Sollima that convinced her to sign on to play CIA Deputy
Director Cynthia Foard. She remembers, "He talked about her soul and that she
wasn't necessarily an overtly empathetic person because she's the deputy
director of the CIA and she has a job to do." At the same time, "She is a woman
and is confident in her intellect. She doesn't have to compensate by behaving
like a man."
"Josh's character is a patriot. I believe Cynthia is as well," Keener continues.
Iwanyk says, "Catherine is tough, but there's also a slight softness to her,
which is really interesting to see how she plays it, because she makes some very
rough decisions in the movie and I don't think you're going to see that coming."
Returning as contractor Steve Forsing is Jeffrey Donovan (Sicario, "Burn
Notice"). "When I met with Stefano, he discussed how the Steve Forsing character
was a nice amount of levity in very dark scenes," notes Donovan. Which rang true
to Donovan, too: "A lot of these guys that I've met, these real guys, the real
Steve Forsings, were always joking during dangerous missions. And that's how
they dealt with the difficulty of what they were experiencing. And during
shooting especially with Black Label Media's Trent Luckinbill, he really
encouraged me to do what I did in the first movie which was bring sarcasm and
humor to the role."
Elijah Rodriguez (Book of Life) portrays 14-year-old Miguel Hernandez, who is
led into the cartel life by his older cousin Hector (David Castaneda). The
determined Miguel lives in McAllen, Texas, which is where Rodriguez grew up as
well. "Miguel is ambitious. He cares about people but he also wants more. And
he'll do anything to get there. He'll make the tough decisions that other people
aren't willing to make. So I feel like he's really ambitious and strong-willed,"
reflects Rodriguez. "He sees his cousin Hector's life and he compares that to
his dad's life, and he wants what Hector has. That adventure. Those trips. All
Portraying the brutal cartel manager Gallo is Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
(The Magnificent Seven), who grew up in Guadalajara. Garcia-Rulfo says, "From
what I've learned all my life, growing up in Mexico, and people I know who are
in that kind of business, I think Sicario was very real. It was very close to
reality. And this script as well. From my point of view, there isn't a bad side
or a good side, the US or Mexico. One consumes, one sells; one sells drugs, one
sells guns. In both films in the Sicario series, they portray the reality very
Playing Hector, the good-time-guy with a touch of vanity who guides his younger
cousin Miguel into the cartel world, is Mexican-American actor David Castaneda
(End of Watch, "Jane the Virgin"). Castaneda is in real life a dual citizen of
Mexico and the US, as is his character. The actor spent his childhood in
Sinaloa, Mexico. "Hector is cool, he's caring, and he loves Miguel. He wants to
see him succeed," says Castaneda. "He sees Miguel as himself, when he was
younger. And Hector always wanted an older brother. He always wanted someone to
look up to. He didn't have that. So he sees he can do right by kind of bringing
Miguel along into this world, where he can actually succeed."
At the top of the Soldado power hierarchy is Secretary of Defense James Riley,
the man with the plan and the clout to set that plan in motion, played by
Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Birdy). "James Riley is a person who is in a
position who has to make decisions. He answers to the President of the United
States, and there's that chain of command," explains Modine. "I think that with
these kind of characters, what's important is not exposing too much. It's like
you're playing poker."
START OF PRODUCTION
Sicario: Day of the Soldado began production on a cold November morning in a
ramshackle adobe house under the freeway near downtown Albuquerque, a locale
which was doubling for the blue-collar neighborhood where Miguel lives in
During the next three months, filming would take place in New Mexico's
Albuquerque, To'hajiilee Reservation, Laguna Pueblo, Bernalillo, Santa Clara
Pueblo, Belen, and Algodones. Most location were rural exteriors, with shooting
taking place on many frigid nights. Whereas Sicario had been shot in summertime,
Sicario: Day of the Soldado filmed in late 2016 as icy winter gripped the
Southwest mountains and mesas.
The filmmakers emphasized a sense of harsh realism as production roamed the
barren Southwest landscape where the border stretches for hundreds of miles,
with New Mexico often doubling for Texas.
To shoot an early scene in the movie where the Department of Homeland Security
monitors migrants who are escaping across the border at night, production
utilized the FLIR thermal cameras that the government actually uses.
Military accoutrements abounded, including Blackhawk helicopters, Humvee
military vehicles, machine guns, bullet-proof vests, surveillance cameras, and
The longest action sequence was the Humvee convoy ambush which occurs about
halfway through the movie. It was filmed over the course of a week at
To'hajiilee Indian Reservation. Long takes of elaborate action were
choreographed, then shot using dolly track, with numerous characters, machine
gun fire, and explosions all captured with raw realism. Says director Sollima,
"The challenge there is even in a huge action sequence, to always be with your
characters and have their point of view in the action."
In mid-January, cast and crew wrapped in New Mexico, the next day boarding a
charter flight for Mexico City, where filming continued through late January
VAST LOCATIONS IN NEW MEXICO
Most of Sicario: Day of the Soldado was filmed on location in rural areas
surrounding Albuquerque, New Mexico, with 90% of the movie shot outside.
Production roamed north to an Indian Pueblo along the Rio Grande River for two
nights of river-crossing scenes in inky darkness, west to sparsely populated
Indian reservations covered with tumbleweeds, south to sandy arroyos, and east
to a big-box store doubling for a big-box store in Kansas.
The most-utilized location was To'hajiilee Indian Reservation in west central
New Mexico, home to the Canoncito Band of Navajo and settled during the "Long
Walk," when Navajo tribal people were forced to relocate. Today, this
reservation sprawls over 122,000 square miles and contains only 1,600 residents.
The terrain contains sagebrush, cactus, rocky dirt roads, desert mesas, and red
buttes, a landscape so remote that bands of cattle and wild horses freely wander
across roads. Here, production filmed the migrants fleeing for cover as
helicopter beams catch them crossing the border at night, the extended action
sequence of the Humvee border ambush, and the scenes at Angel's farm. The rural
isolation epitomized the look of the film.
Says Orona, "Whether it was a road, an arroyo, a house, there was always a focus
on desolation and isolation in this movie. It was about finding places that were
gritty and impoverished or forgotten."
Modest areas of Albuquerque doubled for the dusty environs of McAllen, Texas,
including Miguel's small home, his worn-out public school, and the food court at
the mall. Orona says, "The Texas section has to allude to physical and monetary
disadvantages and desolation that build for Miguel: 'I come from nothing and I
want the grander things that these cartel guys have.'"
For the scenes crossing the Rio Grande River and along its riverbanks,
production filmed at Santa Clara Pueblo near Los Alamos and on a ranch in
Scenes set in the Mexico border town of Reynosa were mostly filmed at
Albuquerque's seamy Railyard and on Laguna Pueblo, which occupies 500,000 acres
of desert wilderness.
Many of the arroyo scenes were filmed in sandy arroyos south of Albuquerque. The
airport scenes were filmed at two private airports in the Albuquerque area:
Atlantic Aviation and Double Eagle II Airport. The Texas safe house was situated
in the town of Belen.
For its final day in New Mexico, Sicario: Day of the Soldado filmed at a border
crossing set built by production, containing car lanes and toll booths and
"Welcome to Mexico" signs, with vendors selling street food. Here, the Humvee
convoy sped through the toll booths at 40 miles an hour, spraying dust and
gravel in its wake.
The next day, cast and crew boarded a charter flight headed south into Mexico.
URBAN LOCATIONS IN MEXICO
Sicario: Day of the Soldado spent its final two weeks in Mexico City, providing
authenticity and a sense of the exotic that adds to the magnitude of Matt and
Alejandro's mission. These metropolitan locales infuse the film with commercial
activity, color, and more substantial architecture alluding to the power and
money its most successful cartel kingpins possess.
The most extensive scene filmed in Mexico City was the extended action sequence
depicting Isabela's extraction, which was filmed during two days on the
Republica de Peru in downtown Mexico City's historic district. Production shut
down the street, filling the scene with Mexican background players including
pedestrians, drivers, police, police investigators, and EMTs. The architecture,
with stucco-clad Spanish Colonial buildings next to ornate Baroque,
Neoclassical, Italianate, Art Nouveau, Beaux-Arts, and Art Deco structures
dating back to the 1600s, emphasized the risks involved in the kidnapping.
Alejandro's apartment was also filmed in downtown Mexico City's historic
district. "It's in a very Colonial building, a five-story building, and we're
using one of the top floors that overlooks the city," describes production
designer Kevin Kavanaugh. "The exterior is around the corner in an alley way."
The exterior of the lawyer's office was filmed in the shiny Santa Fe District,
Mexico City's ultramodern business quarter located on its west side. This
wealthy area developed during the last 20 years is filled with hard-edged,
geometric high-rises, the glass and steel structures soaring over cement
streets, with many million-dollar multinational and Mexican conglomerates
headquartered in this area. Numerous Mexican background and supporting players
appear here, including news reporters, state police, Federales, EMTs, drivers,
plainclothes investigators, Mexican army, and business executives.
The scenes at Isabela's opulent school were shot at a private girls' school in
Mexico City boasting an elite campus constructed in a fortress-style oval, with
manicured green lawns, decorative columns, and tiled stairs. The interior of the
school was chosen for its 1940s Art Deco design and extravagant stained-glass
windows. The exterior of the school was filmed on handsome Mesones Street, said
to be the most tree-lined street in all of downtown Mexico City.
Isabela's mansion is inside a walled compound in the village of Coyoacan, a
bohemian area with its famed fountain, narrow cobblestone streets, cobalt-blue
walls, and many intimate plazas. Nicknamed the "Barrio Magico," the neighborhood
is home to the Frida Kahlo Museum.
The penthouse of the hotel from which Matt's team observes Isabela's departure
from her school, was filmed at the lavish Marquis Reforma Hotel & Spa, a
five-star hotel with Art Deco influences on the busy Paseo de la Reforma.
Various driving scenes were also shot in Mexico.
PRODUCTION DESIGN AND COSTUME DESIGN
The look of Sicario: Day of the Soldado emphasizes a neutral palette of grays
and browns, and is established with an array of sets.
Production Designer Kevin Kavanaugh says, "I painted all the Humvees and trucks
in dark grays and blacks, to give a contrast to New Mexico's browns, to pop out,
as opposed to going with the traditional tan Humvees. When we get to Mexico,
there are pops of color, walls painted blue. A little bit of color in a
contrast-y sort of way. I did research into border towns, and scouted in Mexico.
It's realistic but at the same time cinematic. We're not making a documentary
here. We picked the right angles, focused on what looked good."
For the scenes in McAllen, "It's a realistic look of what it's like to live in a
small Texas town. It's got a little grit to it, a little bit of age on it, and a
little bit of a South Texas vibe to it."
Across the border in run-down Reynosa, "There's more age, more dirt, more
graffiti. I'm trying to exaggerate a border town in the US, for a border town in
Mexico. I'm trying to show the contrast between the two worlds that Miguel has
to navigate through," explains Kavanaugh.
When filming in Laguna Pueblo which doubled for Reynosa, "There's a great bowl
of buildings and structures that resemble what we scouted in Mexico. They're
run-down adobe. We brought some color in. We painted the walls and aged them
In the Reynosa warehouse, Kavanaugh mixed fluorescent lights with the headlights
of vehicles for an edgy, unsafe feeling. Inside the warehouse, everything was
painted dark orange, black, and blue, then the headlights penetrated the
In Mexico City, "The streets are much more congested. Colonial architecture
mixed with Art Deco and all that architecture in Mexico City," describes
Kavanaugh. "More color, more ornate architecture, more details, street vendors,
shops. The way the buildings are painted, the signage, even what the people
wear-more color. And I really wanted to show the grandness and the historical
value of the metropolis of Mexico City, compared to the Texas look, which is
Vehicles proliferate in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, particularly the convoy of
dark-gray, slant-back Humvees, as well as Hector's 1978 silver Camaro coupe. The
two Blackhawk choppers in which Matt often travels were obtained from Washington
State, and trucked in on trailers. Kavanaugh's art department painted them gray
and applied decals related to the movie's narrative. "The idea behind those is
that they're bought by subcontractors and leased to Josh Brolin's character,"
Costume designer Deborah L. Scott likewise accentuated an overall subdued
palette for the movie, largely relying on blacks, grays, browns, neutrals,
greens, and earth tones for most of the costumes.
She collaborated with Benicio Del Toro on the concept that the enigmatic
Alejandro attires himself differently to fit into different environments
unnoticed. "He kind of takes on different costumes that are basically a
camouflage," describes Scott. Del Toro wears Wrangler pants and a knit tie in
one scene; black combat gear in another. For much of the latter part of the
movie, he goes underground in jeans, an aged red plaid shirt, blanket shawl, and
aged cowboy hat.
Matt Graver's trademark flip-flops are gone in Day of the Soldado, replaced by
an equally irrepressible form of footwear: Crocs. "The Crocs were a join
operation between Stefano and Josh," says Scott. "Josh didn't want to repeat the
ABOUT THE MUSIC
The musical score for Sicario: Day of the Soldado is by Hildur Guđnadottir. For
many years, Guđnadottir was a protege and collaborative partner with composer
Johann Johannsson, who composed the score for Sicario before his untimely
passing earlier this year.
For Sollima, there was no better choice to continue the work than Guđnadottir. "Hildur
is uniquely able to create an electronic sound from a classic instrument like
the Violoncello, and has the skill to elaborate the sound in such a deep way
that it finally differs from the actual instrument," says Sollima. "Aside from
the fact that she already collaborated with Johann and was part of the same
movement, her organic manipulation of sound was the main reason why I thought
she could compose the perfect score for this film. She captured the specific
emotional stakes for the characters in her own personal way."
"We worked together very closely on almost every single project we both did for
about 15 years," Guđnadottir explains. "He passed away so recently, so I have
not really digested that he is no longer here. But I don't feel like I have
picked up a baton, I am simply carrying on with the work that we were already
doing. That feels both natural and very surreal, for lack of better words or
Continuing that work meant approaching the score in a way that would incorporate
some familiar elements without being repetitive. "The most identical theme of
Sicario is 'The Beast' - with downward bass glissandos and distorted drums.
Although we didn't want to do a remake of that track, there are some references
to that sound world and tonality," Guđnadottir says.
"Johann recommended Hildur," notes producer Molly Smith. "She created an amazing
original score, one that is in some ways reminiscent of course of Sicario's
brilliant score by Johann, but it is also fresh and new as well, it's also fresh
and new as well, and just an incredibly powerful score."
"It felt important to have some connection to the previous tonality to stay in
the same world, but at the same time allow space for creating something
completely different. There are quite a few tracks that go in a very different
direction from the previous soundtrack.
Guđnadottir says that if the Sicario: Day of the Soldado score is more
emotional, it is a reflection the film's emotional core. "This one is a bit more
of a 'classical' score, with musical themes that follow certain emotional
landscapes. That is something that was important to Stefano," she says. "There
is also a lot more music in Sicario: Day of the Soldado; I think it's twice the
length of the previous score. That gives it a bit of a different feel as a
score, because the function of it is different. That is also a direction that
was important to Stefano. He was also very vocal about the fact that he did not
want to recreate the Sicario soundtrack, so he often wanted to go in very
different directions from Sicario."
Still, there are similarities. "The similarities are probably most obvious in
the soundworld itself; since I was quite a bit part of the first score, there
will naturally be similarities in what I create for the sequel. Having worked
hand in hand with Johann for half my life, the way we thought about and created
music was very intertwined and we had a very big influence on each other, so I
guess the thought process for both scores are quite similar."
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