Elfman: I guess I would have to be the "Hollywood guy" in the team. Although, it's funny, after 26 years of working in Hollywood, I still don't consider myself a Hollywood guy. I'm not a Hollywood guy in the sense that I don't connect with Hollywood. I go to openings when I absolutely have to. As much as I support the Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] and all the good things they do, because I love cinema, and cinema was my inspiration to get into music.
How did that translate into making music?
Elfman: All accident. My early designs in life were to be in movies — not an actor, but a cinematographer, an editor, a writer, maybe a director. Everything but an actor or a composer. My training was spending every weekend of my life at a theater. And I lived in an area where the kids went to the theater every Saturday and Sunday.
Philippe, does the culture of Hollywood — the Academy Awards and that kind of thing — interest you?
Decouflé: I don't know it so well, so I can't say. But I could say almost the same as Danny in many points, because I do what I do by accident also. Because it's a bit the same. When I was a kid, every day when I was in school, at midday I was escaping to go to the movies, mainly to cartoons. When I was a kid I was always crazy about Tex Avery.
Did you like cartoons because you can do anything in them?
Decouflé: Yeah, it's something about freedom, freedom of movement. So there is something about reaching the impossibility which interested me a lot. And voilà, I began to do what I did also by accident. I thought I was going to work in the movies, to make lighting, or the film credits at the beginning and the end of the movies.
Is there anything you haven't been able to do in the Kodak Theatre?
Decouflé: I have a model of the Kodak Theatre in my house in Paris, a big one, and I've slept with it for three years. (Laughter.) There is a basic problem in the Kodak: It's the American sickness of king-size. It's too big. It's a reproduction of an Italian theater, but really like king-size. So we had to fight to try to twist the relationship that the spectators have with the space. Because if you respect the normal aperture, it's too big, too far.
Elfman: That's what I noticed right from the beginning. "Iris" is much more human-based. There's a sense of anticipation that's more old-school circus than the new Cirque du Soleil shows. Because I've seen "O" twice, I've seen "Ka" twice. And I never feel that anything could ever go wrong in those shows, they're like clockwork. But here, you have four people, two people, six people, just doing their act, there's no help, there's nothing but them and their bodies. I bite my nails and grit my teeth much more than in any other Cirque show that I've seen. I know they're going to be OK, but I have to look away at moments because it just looks too insanely difficult. To me, of all the Cirque shows I've seen, this one, its unique quality is that connection with the human element. You don't need $100 million of CGI. You're just watching performers performing. And what a joy that is.