Hans Zimmer Talks Chris Nolan's Secrecy & Orchestra Experiments
What is he up to? Composer Hans Zimmer recently spoke with Hero Complex (via SlashFilm) and talked not only about his score work on The Dark Knight and this summer's The Dark Knight Rises, but why director Christopher Nolan likes to maintain such secrecy, and such a disconnect from the online
world masses. We've heard Zimmer talk plenty before about TDKR, and many speak for Nolan since he doesn't give too many quotes, but it's always great to hear a fresh update, especially since they're starting to finish things with only five months left until release. "I have 25 minutes of very, very radical, very different stuff."
Before we get into his score, because he's not going to let us hear any of it just yet, Zimmer's comments on secrecy and why it is so important are fantastic. We hear time and time again how Chris Nolan is such a secretive director and doesn't like anyone to know anything about his movies until they're released. It's for good measure, too, because it's all part of the experience. But it takes someone like Zimmer to explain this, and reiterate it, in his own words to hammer home just how crucial it really is. And this is the guy who's probably working on creating music for the entire movie right now! Here's what he tells Hero Complex:
"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."
"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."
Damn straight - you tell ’em, Hans! I completely agree with him (and Nolan) and that's exactly why I try to steer clear of anything spoiler-related before seeing a movie, even set photos and set reports (which is why you don't find much of that on here). It's great to hear him explain that exact reason with such transparency, because it's the truth. I think it really makes for a better experience in the end, the results are that much more exhilarating. If you saw The Dark Knight Rises IMAX prologue, you already got a taste of Zimmer's epic score for this Batman saga finale, and it looks and sounds amazing already. But that was just a tease.
"I had an idea of a different way of writing music, or a different way of getting an orchestra to perform music as well," Zimmer reveals, as he goes on to say that he got Warner Bros to let him "experiment" with an orchestra for two days very early on just to see the results and show them to Nolan. He mentions:
"You have to see [a sequel] as an autonomous movie," the Berlin 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.'"
The LA Times says that "the experiment took [Zimmer] to some new and distant edges of his own craft." Damn! But what exactly does that mean and what are we going to be hearing? More of the crowd-sourced bah-sah-rah chanting turned into epic cinematic Batman score, I'm sure, but is that all? "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," he says. "Chris came to the [recording] sessions and really embraced what I was doing and really liked what I was doing… [But] the greater part was that the musicians had never worked in this way before, and really loved it." There's no question I'm as excited to see hear Zimmer's "different" and I'm sure amazing score for The Dark Knight Rises as I am the movie itself. But we have to wait until July to hear it.