Hans Zimmer Discusses ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Score; Not Onboard For ‘Man of Steel’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 2nd, 2013 at 8:53 am,

Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer previously collaborated with James Newton Howard on the scores for both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. However, he is the sole composer working on filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy finale, The Dark Knight Rises.

Zimmer was doing press rounds for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows when he opened up a bit about his approach to scoring the third installment in Nolan’s Caped Crusader saga. He also addressed long-standing rumors that he is locked to provide musical accompaniment for director Zack Snyder’s Superman franchise reboot, Man of Steel, which Nolan helped lay the narrative foundation for (he’s receiving story-writing credit) and is serving as a producer on.

On the topic of how he began composing the Dark Knight Rises soundtrack, Zimmer had the following to say (via The Playlist):

“Actually, before I started on[the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ sequel] I had an idea for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and I said to Chris [Nolan], I just have this idea, this experiment, and it really it is something that I have no idea if it will work – have I earned the right yet to just get myself a really big orchestra into a room for a couple of days and just try this experiment? If I think and you think it’s horrible we’ll just throw it away and pretend it never happened and nobody’s going to give me a hard time later about it. It took him half a second to go, ‘Yeah, of course – go knock yourself out.’ So out of that actually came 25 minutes of pretty intense stuff that we have, and honestly I’m overflowing with ideas.

“… Plus, those 25 minutes are [made up of] completely new stuff, and I’ve just started. I think that the problem with working on sequels is how to keep them fresh for yourself, and both with ‘Sherlock’ and with ‘Dark Knight’ so far I’ve been able to manage to do that.”

With regards to the decision to allow regular people to record their own vocals (on the site Ujam) and participate in the (now, famous) Dark Knight Rises chant”:

“We’ve created this world on ‘Dark Knight,’ and we’re sticking pretty autonomously to this world, but at the same time, our fans and the audience are inhabiting this world. And if you can actually pull them in and let them be part of this adventure, which is really what I’ve been trying to do. You, it’s really just a small facet of the whole thing, but we are trying to think out of the box… [Also, obviously] we’re talking about – who isn’t? – talking about where the world is going at the moment. So the idea of the chant, for instance, that pre-dated Occupy Wall Street by quite a bit, but suddenly you find, oh, hang on a second, there’s something in the zeitgeist which moves us all.”

Lastly, Zimmer said that Man of Steel is “in direct [scheduling] conflict” with another project he is working on; so, while he may ultimately work on that Snyder-directed film, Zimmer is not actively involved with the creative process on that comic book flick (for the time being).

Newton Howard and Zimmer’s joint musical work on Nolan’s previous Batman films remains quite popular, if only for how well it manages to enhance the broodingly dramatic atmosphere and heighten the (often, volatile) tension that pervades both movies – as perhaps best evidenced by the “Why So Serious?” theme in The Dark Knight.

Given that The Dark Knight Rises is being talked up as a thematically and visually epic conclusion to Nolan’s telling of Batman/Bruce Wayne’s personal journey, it will be interesting to see just how the film’s soundtrack differs from its predecessors. If the aforementioned “Dark Knight Rises chant” is any indication, Zimmer plans to go heavier on the “big, loud, and angry” material with his orchestral themes, this time around. Frankly, that sounds all the more appropriate, given just how (insanely) large-scale everything in The Dark Knight Rises is shaping up to be.

The Dark Knight Rises will hit theaters around the U.S. on July 20th, 2012.

Man of Steel is slated for theatrical release in the U.S. on June 14th, 2013.

Source: The Playlist

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  1. I wish that newton howard was aboard.

    • You can say that again.

      • I wish that newton howard… 😉

        In the previous installments (Begins and Dark Knight), he added those ominous and/or action-packed themes that were good contrasts to Zimmer’s style.

        Not that Zimmer can’t fill in well enough (he probably will), but I sense that Newton Howard’s absence will be noticeable.

        • Yeah, it’s true. Zimmer may compose ”Dark Knight Rises” score the same way he composed ”Inception”’s score; which was great, but did not have the same strenght on its tracks like they did when Newton Howard was involved. Nevermind, I’m Zimmer’s fan and I’m still buying the soundtrack 😛

        • Lol 😀 I think so too. For fans of both composers, I think it was highly noticeable as to pin point which themes were Zimmer’s and Howard’s.

  2. I nominate John Williams for Man Of Steel.
    No one else would come close to his score.
    He has returned to franchises why not this.

    • This new version, I think is bent on something entirely new with new aspects of story, maybe a different origin story, as they said before, it’s gonna not be like the old Suupy story we know and love. So the score maybe will be more dark. I say that because I am receiving sort of a dark vibe with this reboot.

      • Williams can do darker if called upon to
        and I agree Man Of Steel looks to be darker.
        The main theme should be uplifting nonetheless.

        • Williams will be the perfect choice; nonetheless, with Snyder involved as a director you can bet a lot of individual artists’s songs will be involved, and the background music (which may not be released as a CD) will be horribly adapted by Tayler Bates.

        • It’s a reboot. Just like if the other movies didn’t existed. Singer’s film was a homage to the Reeve’s Superman and that’s why some of the themes are used. Same thing with Smallville. But here, it’s a new beginning, a new take on Superman’s comic books which we’re there way before the Richard Donner film and Williams’s score.

    • It’s gonna be weird without the John Williams theme from the Chris Reeve movies. I mean, even Smallville used it.

      • Yeah, but Smallville always took stuff from the Superman movies.

        • I just hope that Snyder doesn’t use David Hirschfelder in this movie, because not all of the score of The Owls of Ga’hoole was anywhere near exciting.

  3. Awh man! I was looking forward to his score for Man of Steel!

  4. I sincerely hope that the absence of James Newton Howard from the score doesn’t become a distraction when watching the film.

  5. My BIGGEST question in all of this is, “Why isn’t Newton Howard on board for this film?” I know I can trust Zimmer do a really mean score, but it’s the answer that I want.

    • I read elsewhere that Newton Howard is working on scores of his own for numerous other movies, so that’s why he’s not working with Zimmer on TDKR. It’s too bad, I was really looking forward to what they would create for the last in the trilogy.

      • I for one think that James’ earlier themes will return for a special ring in TDKR because after all, Ra’s Al Ghul will be appearing. So it’s too obvious not to use the theme even though James is not there. That theme does in fact sound more like Howard than Zimmer.

  6. sweet music is gonna be epic with hanz zimmer in it sucks that newton isnt aboard otherwise it would be even more epic =D

  7. If there’s any evidence that Zimmer can do a score by himself, just go listen to Inception. I too will miss Howard, but it seems like Zimmer has some fresh/new ideas for this latest installment.

    • Are you kidding me? Go listen to “Dream Within A Dream” Plus the whole score during the action sequences, falling van, zero gravity fight. Geesh, classic Zimmer, great stuff.

      • I think he said “can” not “can’t”

        • Thanks foopher. Yes, I did say CAN. Zimmer is the man and not to be messed with. Enough said.

    • You’re right, the Inception score was the best thing that came from Zimmer for the pass decade because it seemed completely new and punching without having to wonder if he reused old themes. Inception was great.

      • That was to occhile1984 by the way 😉