Score composing, over screenwriting, directing and acting, is one of the hardest building blocks of any film. Aside from editing, it is in a class all by itself due to the vision being [most of the time] completely nebulous in the beginning. Screenwriters hammer out their characters and story in their head before putting pen to paper. And directors tend to already be sharing that structure and vision with the screenwriter. Actors are then the next piece of the puzzle and, if the actor is good, get to choose the character they’d like to play. All of these pieces already have some creative pillars in place to use as jumping pads. Composers, more so than one would think, don’t always have a finished film to use as their source. And sometimes, as shown in the below clip, directors will task composers to write pieces with absolutely no context at all. For Hans Zimmer, not only does he not mind doing this, but he welcomes the challenge.
Hans Zimmer is one of the staples in orchestral filmmaking. He’s been in the game a long time and has produced solid work year in, year out. But there is one negative thing that happens when one is that good: pieces blend together. It’s an unfortunate negative because it stems directly from him writing music that he knows and understands, and even then he knows how to push that creative boundary. But rarely in the past years has he broken that boundary line.
When Christopher Nolan asked Zimmer to tackle the Interstellar score, he gave him zero. He wanted to hear what Zimmer could put together by himself – he wanted the raw diggins within. What Zimmer produced was the first track (and more came after as Nolan slowly provided Zimmer with more of the story) that came from his gut. It was unlike anything he’s done before. Dare I say it was lightyears from his previous work? Taking the route of including an organ as the nucleus of the entire score gave Zimmer a fourth dimension of what he’s needed to breakout for years. This allowed the themes of fatherhood, responsibility and genuine loss to come into ultra-clear vision via a sermon-like musical meditation. Not to mention the space sequence tracks paid the perfect amount of homage to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, while also representing their own nature of curiosity, exploration and confusion. Combining his organic talent with the religious stomps of an organ proved to be a success – one that strayed, for the better, from his usual motif.
Interstellar has only one Golden Globe nomination; it goes to Zimmer for Best Original Score. Not only does he deserve this, but he deserves to be recognized by The Academy. Oh, and he also deserves to win. Typically, awards chatter becomes only clutter after a certain point. But it does need to be said, even if just once, in the case of Zimmer finding a new dimension within his own musical talents.
Video Credits: The Hollywood Reporter, Legendary, Warner Bros.