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John Williams Retired? Composer Says Return Is Possible



John Williams recently told The Times UK that he’s not ruling “anything out” when it comes to staying retired from film scores. The five-time Oscar winner turns 92 years old on Feb. 8. Back in June 2022, Williams teased his retirement by telling the Associated Press that his work on “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” would probably be his last.

“At the moment I’m working on ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ which Harrison Ford — who’s quite a bit younger than I am — I think has announced will be his last film. So, I thought: If Harrison can do it, then perhaps I can, also,” Williams said at the time. “At this point in life, [composing a film score is] a long commitment to me.”

Williams went on to tell Steven Spielberg in January 2023 that perhaps he wouldn’t retire after all. Speaking to the director on behalf of their collaboration for “The Fabelmans,” Williams said that he wouldn’t rule out composing the music for another Spielberg film despite his possible retirement from the medium. Williams and Spielberg’s careers are forever intertwined as the former has composed the scores to “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park,” “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial,” “Schindler’s List” and more Spielberg classics.

“Well, Steven is a lot of things,” Williams said. “He’s a director, he’s a producer, he’s a studio head, he’s a writer, he’s a philanthropist, he’s an educator. One thing he isn’t is a man you can say no to.”

Now asked again about retiring by The Times UK, Williams responded: “I don’t care much for grand pronunciamentos, statements that are firm and finished and surrounded by closed doors. If I made one without putting it in context then I withdraw it.”

“If a film came along that I was greatly interested in, with a schedule that I could cope with, then I wouldn’t want to rule anything out,” he continued. “Everything is possible. All is before us. Only our limitations are holding us back. Or, to put it more simply: I like to keep an open mind.”

So there you have it. Consider John Williams semi-retired but more than ready to make another film score if the project and timing is right. His most recent film score work, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” premiered last year and the film is currently streaming on Disney+. Williams’ music for the fifth “Indiana Jones” adventure recently made the Oscar shortlist for best original score. Nominations for the 2024 Oscars will be announced Jan. 23.


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