Captain America composer: Aristocracy does not produce great artists


A British composer who produced the music for the new Hollywood blockbuster Captain America: Civil War said he has "worries" about the support given to state-educated children to succeed in the arts.

Henry Jackman, who studied at Eton College and the University of Oxford, voiced concerns about the opportunities offered to talented young musicians in comprehensive schools as he attended the film's world premiere in Los Angeles.

His comments follow the debate about the success of Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and other former public school stars, with James McAvoy warning that the continued dominance of a wealthy elite in the arts will be "damaging for society".

Jackman, who received a Bafta nomination for his score to Captain Phillips, said he received a scholarship to study at Eton which provided "an opportunity at an institution I could not possibly have afforded".

He told the Press Association: "If you look at all decent artists ... like Monet, Debussy, Benjamin Britten, I'm not being rude to the English aristocracy, but it has not produced the world's greatest artists.

"The one I do worry about is music education and how that works and where you get the opportunity. I was lucky. My dad came from a working class family but he was a great musician so it was flowing through the house.

"If you imagine you've got some kid whose mum works in the local store and it turns out he's naturally really good at the violin, how does that work?

"If you went to a comprehensive in Peckham and went, hey, can we get some violin lessons for this guy? I don't know if the answer is going to be, yeah sure, we've got loads of violins. That worries me.

"The great thing about music is it is meritocratic."

Jackman joined the stars of Captain America: Civil War on the red carpet for the film's premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, and Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr attended along with host of their co-stars including Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle and Paul Bettany.

Evans paid tribute to Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee after the pair embraced on the red carpet.

"It's overwhelming," he told reporters. "It's Stan Lee. What can you say to a legend like that? The fact he even knows me is a big deal."

Rudd, who plays Ant Man in the film, praised the movie's directors, brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, for managing a plethora of superhero characters.

He said: "The Russo brothers did such a great job balancing all of it. I'm only a small part of it. They did such a good job focussing on the story and all the different relationships between the characters. They're really talented guys."

Captain America: Civil War is due to be released at UK cinemas on April 29.