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Composer Hans Zimmer talks about the music and secrecy of The Dark Knight Rises

Feb. 24, 2012by: Paul Shirey
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Hans Zimmer is one of the most prolific composers working in film today. He's produced scores for some of the most celebrated and popular films of the past two decades including films like RAIN MAN, BACKDRAFT, GLADIATOR, BLACKHAWK DOWN, THE LAST SAMURAI, the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series, and of course, the Christopher Nolan Batman films, including the upcoming THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Zimmer talked about his approach to scoring a sequel and using his clout to make his venture to incorporate "hundreds of thousands" of voices into the "chant" as heard in the recent trailer:

“You have to see [a sequel] as an autonomous movie,” the Frankfurt native said. “Otherwise you will end up with all the things that are the worst thing about a sequel. Before I even set off on ‘Sherlock,’ and before Chris [Nolan] started shooting, I had an idea. I went to the Warner [Bros.'] music department and I said, ‘Have I earned the right yet to book the biggest, craziest orchestra for two days, and try this experiment for ‘”Dark Knight?”‘ And if it goes wrong, if I don’t like it or if Chris doesn’t like it, we can just pretend these two days never happened.’”

Zimmer elaborated on the outcome of the experiment, saying:

 “And basically it worked out, and snippets of it are starting to appear in the trailer. And really I have 25 minutes of very, very radical, very different stuff. There were two great parts. One was Chris came to the [recording] sessions and really embraced what I was doing and really liked what I was doing. But, in a peculiar way, the greater part was that the musicians had never worked in this way before, and really loved it."

Zimmer also commented on the secrecy of Christopher Nolan and the general nature of the web 2.0 environment (ahem) and the sharing of details prior to a film's release:

“There’s always this thing [that people say], ‘Oh, Chris is so secretive.’ Well, I think that there are two elements to this. One is, I think, to be able to do really good work, you have to have the chance to fail in privacy. And if everybody’s watching you on the Internet, I think it stifles creativity. And I think ‘Dark Knight’ is the perfect example of this idea. Everybody knew we were making a Batman movie. But until it came out they didn’t know it was going to be that sort of a Batman movie.”

He adds:

“And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? We’re supposed to go and surprise you. And part of the experience has to be a surprise. It feels a little bit like we’re working very hard at protecting part of what is great about movies — the surprise. Because it seems like the world doesn’t want you to do that anymore. They want to know everything, they want to know about the stars and [this and that] immediately. And it’s not important to us. To us, really, the thing is the writing and the script and the ideas and the journey, and making it into something really good.”

I've been a fan of Zimmer since I first heard his music in RAIN MAN and have enjoyed his work immensely throughout his career.  He's one of the most often copied composers and has even taken on the mantle of nurturing up-and-coming composers who later go on to their own impressive careers (Harry Gregson-Williams, Steve Jablonsky, and Ramin Djawadi come to mind) with his Remote Control Productions company. 

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES opens on July 20th, 2012

Extra Tidbit: Zimmer has also scored a number of video game scores, including Modern Warfare 2 and Crysis 2

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5:17PM on 02/26/2012
Best Hans Zimmer work in my opinion...True Romance!
Best Hans Zimmer work in my opinion...True Romance!
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3:24AM on 02/25/2012

Lucas

Sounds a bit like that THX intro.
Sounds a bit like that THX intro.
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5:13PM on 02/24/2012
Nothing beats Danny Elfman's original Batman theme but its been nice to see Hans Zimmer try for two movies, and I dig how the chant in the trailers sounds like THIS...IS... AWESOME AWESOME!!!!!!!
Nothing beats Danny Elfman's original Batman theme but its been nice to see Hans Zimmer try for two movies, and I dig how the chant in the trailers sounds like THIS...IS... AWESOME AWESOME!!!!!!!
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4:49PM on 02/24/2012

zimmer is awesome!

hans zimmer is an amazing composer, and in your list you forgot my favorite work of his... INCEPTION! i know there was a big thing about him taking the sample from the french song and working it into the theme, but that doesn't even matter... that soundtrack is amazing... i can listen to it over and over, whether im working, studying or working out... the guy knows what he's doing and really adds a subtle greatness to any movie he works on
hans zimmer is an amazing composer, and in your list you forgot my favorite work of his... INCEPTION! i know there was a big thing about him taking the sample from the french song and working it into the theme, but that doesn't even matter... that soundtrack is amazing... i can listen to it over and over, whether im working, studying or working out... the guy knows what he's doing and really adds a subtle greatness to any movie he works on
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