We at FTN would consider John Williams’ Superman score to be one of the most iconic scores of all time – hey, it WAS Williams’ heyday after all – even Superman Returns used it. But Hans Zimmerman has to start again and follow-up one of the most recognisable scores of all time…
The composer spoke with CNN about the work, the pressure and the secrecy surrounding Zack Snyder’s new take on the Superman mythology: “For Superman, it was a really simple question for me. What does it take to become a good man? To be good? And what does that mean in our more and more complex society? Do any of these values still resonate with us?”
So how did it feel following Williams?: “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.”
So Zimmer approached the problem from a different angle. He thought to himself what it would really mean to be an alien among men who wanted more than anything to be accepted in his adopted planet: “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?”
He continues: “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.”
This perspective on Superman, the German-born composer said, is something that he came by in part because he’s a foreigner. “I think partly what we foreigners are good at is looking at America, not in a judgmental way, but wide-eyed, and seeing the things you take for granted and presenting them in a new way. Like for ‘Thelma and Louise’ and the Grand Canyon, most American kids wouldn’t want to go there for their holiday, but to us it’s a magical, magnificent place.”
“The great thing about Superman is that everybody loves Superman,” he adds.
Man of Steel hits this June and we’ll get to hear Zimmer’s fresh take then, we can’t wait….