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Hans Zimmer On Making The Dark Knight Soundtrack
'We had this strange method on these movies...'

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Hans Zimmer On Making The Dark Knight Soundtrack


The thing with the Dark Knight is, I had this idea for the Joker and it was really abstract. I did endless experiments. There was a moment where Chris was flying to Hong Kong and he said, "Give me the ideas." So I bought an iPod, put these sounds - it was over 10,000 bars of different squeals and all these things, really unpleasant and he's a brave man, he listened to it all the way to Hong Kong and all the way back!

We had this strange method on these movies of releasing the prologue as a trailer, so we have to be way, way ahead. I hadn't actually written the prologue music as a piece but I had all these elements, so we wrote it on the dub stage. I had all these Lego pieces that we then put together. When it came to making the soundtrack album, it was suddenly, "Hang on, we don't actually have that piece of music, it doesn't exist anywhere other than on the movie." So we pulled it off the film!

Technology allows you to be very flexible these days, and what is very important to Chris is, that I don't get caught up in the mechanics, that I have as much freedom and as much autonomous thinking as I possibly can have. We both know what we want to say and we know what the movie wants to say but you can't help but get caught up in some of the mechanics where you say, "Ooh, I need to make a shift here because there's a cut." And the next thing you do is make this elegant shift as opposed to writing an autonomous piece of music that embodies the spirit of the character or the spirit of the theme.

Chris being very articulate, he can describe the scene to you really well. There's a big difference working with a writer/director as opposed to someone who works from another's script.

  • More: Hans Zimmer Career Interview
  • The Greatest Movie Soundtracks - Empire's Music Celebration

    Interview by James White

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