September 23, 2009
“The music does need to stand on its own two feet.”
Composer Hans Zimmer in the studio
I love movies. I get so lost in them. Music is such a big part of the film experience -- it is "the wings of a film."
When I had a chance to speak with Hans Zimmer, one of my favorite film composers, I was elated. His music is very distinctive and so deftly blended with the images that they become as one. That’s the mark of a great film composer.
Zimmer’s career is one the world’s most stellar. From The Lion King to Gladiator to his latest film with Ron Howard, Angels and Demons, Zimmer must be the busiest composer in Hollywood. I was a little intimidated talking with such a renowned composer, but Zimmer’s down-to-earth warmth and honest sense of humor made it fun for both of us.
Here’s part one of my interview, where Zimmer explains how he got his start and his unique process of working with a director.
Interview with Hans Zimmer
Where does a composer get his texts if the score calls for it? For Angels and Demons, Zimmer takes an idea he used in Gladiator: make up your own, even if it’s not an actual language. Also, we learn what he meant by “men in skirts and sandals” and hilarious reason why the fanfare scenes in Gladiator were cut.
Zimmer talks about Angels and DEmons
I could not resist asking Zimmer about his work for Hannibal, the follow-up to Silence of the Lambs. The music is full of delightful textures and becomes a separate character at times. Zimmer shares his insights about director Ridley Scott and some behind-the-scenes stories that give us a rare glimpse into the filmmaking world.
Zimmer talks about the music for Hannibal
The live album, The Wings of a Film, is a great overview of his work. The cut “Journey to the Line” is particularly powerful, showing some minimalism influence. His somewhat experimental approach to this piece raised the ire of a few musicians. Hear his funny and honest anecdote about the performance of the piece.
Zimmer interview, continued