University of North Texas

‘Coming 2 America' Movie Has North Texas Connection

You won't see UNT alum Jermaine Stegall or UNT Asst. Professor Scott Tixier, but you will hear their work in 'Coming 2 America.'

NBCUniversal, Inc.

'Coming 2 America' is one of the latest movies to come out of Hollywood... by way of North Texas.

"I can honestly say that I scored my first film at the University of North Texas," UNT alum and composer Jermaine Stegall said.

Stegall has scored about two-dozen films, but none bigger than his latest project, which came about after connecting with Paramount's director of music.

"'Coming 2 America' was the next movie that they were going to be tackling," Stegall explained. "And he had this look in his eye like, you might be a good fit for that."

Stegall got to work composing before he got the gig.

"Two weeks later I'm sitting in a room with the director, playing him music that I'd written," Stegall said. "Everyone's just kind of looking at each other like, ah, not only do we like it but we kinda need to use it to start shooting!"

Among the musicians Stegall hired for his orchestra, Scott Tixier, a Grammy Award-winning jazz violinist and assistant professor at UNT.

"This is the violin that was in the score from 'Coming 2 America'," Tixier said showing off his instrument from France. "Now if you listen, and recognize when I'm playing," Tixier laughed.

Tixier moved to the United States from France when he was 19-years-old. He said his story is not so different from the plot of the movie.

"I mean, I'm not a king," Tixier said laughing. "But I come from France and... I arrived in New York... I didn't speak any English... it was a culture shock, like the movie!"

Hollywood is a small world for actors, in the way that UNT is for musicians. The school, known for its music programs, opens doors.

"It's interesting that in Denton, this small town like this, there's so many great people coming and passing by," Tixier said.

"I'm honestly just happy we got to get together during these times," Stegall said referring to the strict COVID-19 protocols for musicians. "I'm hoping that as people watch this thing in their homes they're connecting with people in their bubbles as safely as they can."

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