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May 30, 2008


Composer Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
Return of the Dynamic Duo - Page 1



Hans Zimmer: Biography

Born: September 12th, 1957 - Frankfurt, Germany.

Composed the hit song "Video Killed the Radio Star"

Co-produced the soundtrack album for The Last Emperor (1987

Co-Founded Media Ventures with producer Jay Rifkin.

Official Web Site

Composition Credits (Film)

The Dark Knight
Kung Fu Panda
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Simpson's Movie
The Da Vinci Code
Batman Begins
King Arthur
The Last Samurai
Black Hawk Down
Impossible 2
Prince of Egypt
Beyond Rangoon
Black Rain
Broken Arrow
Crimson Tide
Rain Man
The Peacemaker
The Power of One
The Rock









Composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

"The interesting thing is that people keep thinking that, eventually, we'll turn the corner and make him the Batman of the Tim Burton movies. We're never going to do that ..."

Hans Zimmer

Just over a month before the release OF the highly anticipated follow-up to BATMAN BEGINS, we are able to speak with film music's own "dynamic duo" HANS ZIMMER AND JAMES NEWTON HOWARD. They share their thoughts on how they have continued in the collaborative tradition begun with the first film, their treatment of themes for Batman and the Joker, and about "the note."

  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

The Dark Knight Opens July 18, 2008

THE DARK KNIGHT  opens July 18, 2008



  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

CC: It's been 3 years since Batman Begins. What was it like coming back together to work on the THE DARK KNIGHT?

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: It seemed very natural. Our studios are only 5 blocks apart, so we see each other a lot in our day to day lives.

HANS ZIMMER: Curiously, we are actually friends!

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: Yes! We are very good friends. We have established a sound or a vocabulary for what BATMAN is about, so we were able to do something that was a little less traditional this time out.

CC: Now, I recently asked HARRY GREGSON- WILLIAMS about his experience scoring PRINCE CASPIAN after THE LION, THE WITCH, and the WARDROBE, and he remarked that in this case it was more difficult doing the sequel. Was that true for you two with THE DARK KNIGHT?

HANS ZIMMER: Well, I did a whole bunch of these "pirate movies" [laughs] and on those I'd have to say the sequels were much more difficult. So, knowing that, I approached this film in a slightly different way. Thinking to myself, "This is interesting. This time I can actually play with the concepts established in the first one." In BATMAN BEGINS we established the watermark or the template and so we wanted to see how we could crash into those things in an interesting way. We wanted to reinvent it some or just move the pieces around a little bit. I wanted to see just where this world has gone to and to embrace the changes that have taken place in Gotham City from 3 years ago. (And you know, coming back to America after being gone for 5 years, you'd be surprised just how many changes have taken place. Just try to get through immigration!)

CC: About a year ago you remarked that the character of Batman, in the first film, had not yet earned the full theme that you had originally written for him and that he might finally do that in THE DARK KNIGHT. Has that proven to be true?

HANS ZIMMER: There was a theme that Chris (Nolan) really liked for the first film, but I kept thinking that this theme just isn't our Batman. So I managed to get rid of the theme and, both James and I, managed to put some new themes and very new ideas into this one. The interesting thing is that people keep thinking that, eventually, we'll turn the corner and make him the Batman of the Tim Burton movies. We're never going to do that because we are dealing with a whole different predicament, a whole different mindset, quite a different philosophy.

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: I think that is such a good point because there is such a convention and an expectation when it comes to superheroes or Summer-blockbuster movies having to have this theme that you go around whistling. When we did the last movie and they listened to the score, the studio loved it and all went berserk. The theme that Hans had written for Batman was very non-traditional. It's more of a texture and an idea and a feeling. The studio really "got that" and I think people, in general, really "got that" as well. I think its a conceit that we never really had to go there and turn him into a traditional superhero.

HANS ZIMMER: The thing we really worked hard on for BATMAN BEGINS was this idea of an iconic motif. Now, what James has just said is absolutely right. The studio loved it, but I don't think they quite realized how iconic it was...until after these few years have gone by. And now when you hear those two notes, you don't have to see Batman on the screen. You know he is coming and that this is a "Batman film" and nothing but a "Batman film."  So this time out, I instantly tried to go and pervert (and that's the only word I can think of to describe it) what we had done before, because his world is different. His philosophical challenges are different. His point of view is forever being attacked. With very little, I managed to go and skewer it a little bit more toward the corrosive and toward the darker.

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: And in the process, I have to say that, Hans wrote a fantastic Batman theme. One that we barely put into the movie.

HANS ZIMMER: Yes...and we could play this whole game again of "Oh! If we ever do another film, maybe we'll use it!" But you know, maybe we never have to.

Continue the Interview (Page 2)


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Miho Nomura (2008)
Mark Griskey (2008)
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Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (2008)
Ramin Djawadi (2008)
E.S. Posthumus (2008)
Tyler Bates(2008)
David Buckley (2008)
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Harry Gregson-Williams (2005)
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James Dooley (2007)
Jesper Kyd (2007)
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Scott Glasgow (2007)
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John Debney
Greg Edmonson
Christopher Lennertz (2003)
Erik Lundborg
Ron Jones
Edward Shearmur
Christopher Lennertz (2002)
Thad Spencer
Don Davis (2001)
Hans Zimmer
Conrad Pope
Michael Giacchino
Don Davis (1999)
Jeff Rona (1999)





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