sure people will be surprised with this score because we did do
something different. I'm sure there will be some purists that will
expect the typical, lush, orchestral score. Some people are going to
love it and some people are going to hate it."
Just a few days prior to the release
of the highly-anticipated IRON MAN, composer Ramin Djawadi talks
with Tracksounds about his experience working on the project with
director John Favreau and with score producer, Hans Zimmer. He
also shares about other recent and upcoming projects:
DECEPTION, PRISON BREAK, and OPEN SEASON 2.
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Exclusive Music from
All Music Used by Permission
IRON MAN opens
May 2, 2008
Iron Man's John Favreau (Director)
and Hans Zimmer (Score Producer)
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CC: I guess you're pretty excited about IRON MAN
coming out in a few days.
RAMIN DJAWADI: Absolutely. I feel very fortunate just to be a part of this
movie, given the fact that I'm a huge comic book fan. I think it is an
amazing movie and am very curious as to what people will say.
CC: Because of John Favreau's history with composer JOHN DEBNEY, it was
expected that Debney would be doing the score for IRON MAN. How
did you then end up on this project?
RAMIN DJAWADI: To be honest, I don't know why John (Debney) didn't get the
movie. When there is a previously relationship between a director and a
composer, I never do anything to get in between. When I heard that
they were still looking for a composer, I jumped in there because I am
such a comic book fan. I did have some history with Marvel through BLADE
TRINITY and I did MR. BROOKS with Paramount, so there were some people
involved with IRON MAN that I knew. My agents then began inquiring about
the project. Then, the fact that HANS ZIMMER came on as score producer
helped out a lot.
CC: Being big comic book fan yourself and IRON MAN being one of the more
popular comic book series over the years, did that add any pressure for
you on this project?
RAMIN DJAWADI: Sure. There was pressure because we already knew this was
going to be a big movie and that a lot of eyes would be on it. The other
pressure was, because of the other superhero movies already out there,
we knew we were going to be compared to those...no matter what we did. The
idea was to always be different and do our own thing. The key for me was
to start as early as possible. I got involved in conversations even while
they were still cutting and even shooting.
CC: You mentioned that there are so many established superhero franchises
with their own musical identities. How did you determine what would
musically set IRON MAN apart from these other franchises?
RAMIN DJAWADI: There are a couple of interesting things here. The first is
that right after I got the job and before I sat down and met with John (Favreau)
I started to write this orchestral theme. I eventually played it for him
and he said, "Well, its a wonderful theme and it's very comic bookish, but
it's not the direction I want to go. I hadn't read the script yet so I
didn't know if the film was going to be dark or light or exactly what he
was going to do. Second, around that same time, they released the trailer
which had that Black Sabbath song. From that point, it became clear that
featuring the guitar could be really cool. It was John's vision to use
really heavy guitar, rather than a traditional orchestral score. And I
always thought that this was a good idea because it would definitely set
us apart from all the other movies.
CC: Even with the guitar emphasis in the score, do you still follow some
of the superhero film conventions with a strong hero theme, villain theme,
and love theme?
RAMIN DJAWADI: Absolutely! IRON MAN actually has several different themes
that work together and overlap. We have an emotional theme component.
There is a "plotting theme" that takes usto the Iron Monger and then
to Iron Man. Iron Monger has two themes: the one which develops from the
"plotting theme" (which is guitar based) and then a more traditional villain
CC: Now you've worked on other superhero films including BATMAN BEGINS.
Did that experience help you at all in preparing for IRON MAN?
RAMIN DJAWADI: I'm not sure if working on superhero movies helped as much
as simply having worked on bigger movies which would include: BATMAN BEGINS or PIRATES OF
THE CARIBBEAN. Having worked on movies of that size helped me to know what
was coming. I knew they would be changing picture up to the very last
minute and that there would be CG shots that I wouldn't have and even
conceptual changes would happen constantly. Knowing this was coming I
tried to book the orchestral sessions as late as I possibly could. Working with Hans (Zimmer) over the years on these bigger pictures proved
to be a real help to me.
CC: So how did Hans Zimmer work with you on this project in a day-to-day
RAMIN DJAWADI: Well, as score producer, he would be in most of the
meetings. He would comment on my music just as much as John (Favreau)
would, making suggestions on different things to try. Even while I was
writing he would come in and just listen and give me his input. Since Hans
has been such a mentor to me, I really value his opinion. I listen to his
CC: What would you say your biggest challenge was with this score?
RAMIN DJAWADI: It was getting the final "Iron Man sound" together. When we
decided to go with this guitar emphasis, I knew that if we played these
heroic melodies on guitar that it was going to sound like an 80s
score...and that scared me. I just knew I wouldn't be able to play these
very high up on the guitar. So I had to structure the themes differently.
They are more riff or rhythmic based than they are these long thematic
melodies. I tried to do guitar riffs that would also work for the
orchestra...so we could go back and forth between the two. I was just so
scared of dating this film and that was the biggest struggle.
CC: What do you think the reaction your score is going to be?
RAMIN DJAWADI: I'm sure people will be surprised with this score because
we did do something different. I'm sure there will be some purists that
will expect the typical, lush, orchestral score. Some people are going to
love it and some people are going to hate it.
CC: What was your favorite sequence to score in IRON MAN?
RAMIN DJAWADI: I'd have to say that it was when he put on his suit. The
visuals are just great in that sequence. As the audience, once we go with
the suit, we know that we are in for something!
CC: The sound effects in this film have to be pretty intense as well. How
did that effect your music?
RAMIN DJAWADI: I have to admit when the sound effects came in that I was
in shock. They were absolutely amazing but they were so strong that we
were striving a little bit to get everything to work together. There is
all this metal clanking and flying, which could be music's biggest enemy.
In the end, I think it all worked out well.
CC: So where would you rank IRON MAN in your career thus far?
RAMIN DJAWADI: It's definitely the biggest one I've done thus far...at
least one with my name on it. It's super-exciting for me to be attached to
a movie like this and wonder where it will take me. We'll have to see what
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