A Look at Hans Zimmer’s Original Scores and His Thoughts on Them
Hans Zimmer is Hollywood’s most prolific music composer. Throughout his career, his original scores have been an integral part of iconic movies like The Lion King, Interstellar, Inception, and Gladiator.
Zimmer often plays with his scores for months and even years until he gets one he is satisfied with. He has been very open about his creative process and what working on many of the projects means to him.
Here are some of his most known original scores and his thoughts on them.
‘The Lion King’
Zimmer’s original score in the 1994 classic The Lion King is considered to be his most important work to date. He initially only agreed to work on the movie because he wanted to show off to his daughter and thought little of a movie centered on talking animals.
However, after knowing the story, Zimmer’s thoughts on the movie did a complete 180. The movie's theme, being about a boy losing his father, resonated with him deeply because he lost his father at a young age too.
The main emphasis to me was how we were going to get, in a children’s movie, to the idea that a father dies and make it an emotional yet not horrifying experience but make it something that children might want to start asking questions about.
Zimmer lost his father when he was just six years old, and he has shared that he had no one to talk about it with. Because of it, working on the score for The Lion King was very personal to him.
The Lion King won him an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Zimmer has written an original score for over a hundred movies and has redefined the music in many genres. However, for the 2000 historical drama Gladiator, Zimmer and the movie’s director, Ridley Scott, wanted to do something different from the mainstream music for action and epic movies.
When talking to Vanity Fair, the composer explained the addition of a female element to Gladiator’s music, which sets it apart from so many other movies.
I realized one of the things that was missing [from gladiator movies], and it was missing for Ridley as well, was a female soul. We talked about this idea that we needed a female voice in this.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean’
Like with The Lion King, when Zimmer first heard about Pirates of the Caribbean from Gore Verbinski, he thought it was a terrible idea. However, when he looked at the movie later, he was struck with so much inspiration that he composed the iconic music piece within half a day.
For context, Zimmer worked on The Lion King for over four years.
One of Zimmer’s most frequent collaborators has been director Christopher Nolan. The two have worked together on movies like Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Interstellar. And on Interstellar, Zimmer’s contribution extends beyond just music.
When Nolan bought Zimmer into Interstellar, he had barely started making the movie. Nolan gave Zimmer an envelope that contained the fable at the center of the story and told him to work on it for one day.
Without knowing that the movie was a futuristic sci-fi adventure, Zimmer wrote a four-minute piece for piano and organ in one night. He said the essence of the piece was “what it meant to be a father.”
Nolan, after hearing the piece, decided on the heart of the story, resulting in the Interstellar movie we know today.