It came as a surprise to many last year when composer Hans Zimmer announced he would be providing the score for Warner Bros.’ upcoming Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Zimmer originally refused the job after saying that following in the footsteps of John Williams would be like “rewriting Beethovens ninth,” but he came around eventually after some nudging from The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. CNN spoke with the composer about working on the film and crafting a sound that could follow Williams’ iconic score.
“Look, that was daunting,” Zimmer confessed. “Seriously. He’s the greatest film composer out there, without a doubt, and it happens to be one of his iconic pieces of music, so I spent three months just procrastinating and not even getting a start on the thing, because I was so intimidated: ‘Oh my God, I’m following in John Williams’ footsteps.’”
When he first denied the position, Zimmer claimed he didn’t know how to give a “proper voice” to the music, but it would appear aftering mediating on the story of the film, he’s found it.
“I kept thinking of the story as, What if you are extraordinary, and your entire ambition is to join humanity? To become human? What does it mean to become human? What does it mean to be an outsider who really wants to join the human race?”
“Everything’s tinged with irony and sarcasm and bitterness and darkness these days,” he said. But this he says is “celebrating everything that was good and fine about America,” such as small towns “where people don’t lock their doors, neighbors get together, and families are families.”
Zimmer also says the setting of the film was an influence on how it was made and how he composed its theme.
“What was important for Superman was the simple fact that none of us pay much attention to the Midwest. I know America mainly by the big cities, but if you go into the Midwest, there is a people there and there is a country there. And I thought it was important that the decent folk, simple folk be the heart of the story, and a character who is guileless, who isn’t complicated in the sort of flawed way our Dark Knight is, and isn’t political in any way. He’s just striving to become a better part of humanity.”
In the action adventure, starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, Russell Crowe, Michael Kelly, Harry Lennix and Richard Schiff, a young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind. Man of Steel opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX theaters June 14.