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Hans Zimmer is one of the biggest film composers working in the industry today.  He won an Academy Award for his work on The Lion King, and has been nominated for six other films including Gladiator, The Thin Red Line, and As Good As It Gets. With The Last Samurai he celebrates his 100th film score, and SoundtrackNet had an opportunity to talk with Hans a few weeks ago during a rare break in his busy schedule working on Something's Gotta Give.<br><br>You've scored many projects during your career, and The Last Samurai is being touted as your 100th film score…<br><br>Well, I'm terrible with math, so I'm not doing the counting. It could be more, it could be less – but apparently it's the 100th.<br><br>So how did you get involved with the project?<br><br>If you're lucky enough to get nominated for an Oscar, you get invited to the Oscar nominee's luncheon where they hand out these little nomination certificates. There are usually 150 people standing there, and people are invited up in alphabetical order, starting with the As. By the time they get to the Cs, everybody's already back at their table chatting and eating, and while the first people called get thunderous applause, you can imagine what it's like when your name starts with Z!<br><br>So Ed Zwick and I were standing there, waiting at one of these luncheons about four years ago, and we started talking to each other. I asked him what he was working on and he told me about this movie called The Last Samurai, which I thought sounded interesting and I asked him to send me a script. After the script arrived, I didn't hear from him for a long time and I thought he'd forgotten about me, not thinking about how difficult it is to set up a samurai movie these days. The other thing I liked about the project was that Tom Cruise was involved, so it was like returning home, since I've scored a bunch of his movies – I knew we were going to have a good time.<br><br>Did it end up that way?<br><br>Ed and his editor Steve Rosenblum are such gentlemen, so together and professional, and they basically did one cut of the film, screened it, and everyone loved their work. So after this, they had plenty of time to come and hang with me, and while I usually love the re-cutting process because it's a diversionary tactic to keep the director and editor out of my life, these guys were great to have around. <br><br>Of course, my sense of paranoia made me think that something was going wrong all the time, waiting for the other shoe to drop, as it were, but it never happened. Ed phoned this morning and I thought, "Oh my god – rewrite!" It's just how my brain works. But I think he and I feel a bit odd now: we've been seeing each other every day for months, and suddenly we're done. I completely understand why people have a problem finishing a movie, because there's something really nice about the process – completion is far more boring.<br><br>For Samurai, you used Japanese percussions and ethnic woodwinds, without getting too 'Japanese'.<br><br>My problem is that I feel Japanese music is really inaccessible to Western ears, and I was really struggling with this film initially, trying to figure out what I was doing. This idea popped into my head for using Western-style themes, but applying a Japanese aesthetic to them, which sounds great of course, until I had to ask myself what I meant! Actually, I think it's just my way of not overloading certain things with too many colors, or being geometrically precise about my cues and not making them too flowery.<br><br>The Tom Cruise character is one of those nasty drunks at the beginning, who obviously has some serious problems he's trying to deal with, or not deal with. He's obnoxious and restless, suffering sleepless nights and is very un-Tom. For me, this character's journey was about his need to earn tranquility and peace, so within the score there's this very romantic, overblown and passionate theme. It's like a juvenile way of dealing with life and death – the pain and liebestod.<br><br>However, to contrast with these very relentless themes, there are a number of stark, formal and sober pieces, because I wanted to take Tom's character on a journey. He comes from America and ends up in this foreign place where he doesn't speak the language or understand the culture. But at the end of the movie, I want the audience to think that there isn't a more beautiful place for him to be, that he is at home in Japan and finally at peace.<br><br>There are many useless acts of bravery we do out of misguided romanticism, and this movie is full of courageous and dignified acts of bravery. So I wanted to play off these acts, since both the American and Japanese cultures have a concept of heroism, and I just wanted to see if I could play with the nature of the two different concepts.<br><br>So you didn't want to do the stereotypical Japanese thing...<br><br>Absolutely not! Take Akira Kurosawa's Ran, for example, which has this brilliant score where Takemitsu writes Western music, but with an Eastern accent. Somebody asked me a few days ago why As Good As It Gets was European – why did I write a European score for a quintessentially American story? For me, it's because Jack Nicholson was crazy in the movie, and I felt one of the great things about America is how they always think we Europeans are crazy. So by writing a European-styled score, it's my way of saying that Jack is crazy, but it's alright!<br><br>How do you feel about people who criticize your work for not fitting into the time period, like Gladiator?<br><br>The reason I take these jobs is because I'm interested in foreign cultures, and every time I get to work on a movie I'm thrown into the adventure of whatever that culture is, the time, and wherever the story's taking place. So one of the things I'm very careful about is not to be historically correct to the culture, but, on the other hand, not to insult the underlying aesthetics of that culture either. I remember watching Chariots of Fire and thinking how brilliantly the music worked, never missing that it wasn't period instruments! I grew up listening to Bach played by a symphony orchestra – it's the wrong sized orchestra with the wrong instruments, but I don't think that's the point.<br><br>With Gladiator, Pietro Scalia brought in a CD saying "this is Ancient Roman music," and I said, "Says who? You went to the Ancient Roman music store and bought an Ancient Roman music CD? Bullshit!" We're not anthropologists. Look at he costumes Ridley Scott had: they were more Napoleonic than Roman, which was perhaps fitting since Napoleon had stolen all of his good ideas from the Romans regarding how to make his generals look cool – and so did Hitler! So I got criticized for making the "Entry into Rome" cue too Leni Riefenstahl – but that was the joke! I am allowed to have a sense of humor in my music!<br><br>Earlier this summer your credit on Pirates of the Caribbean was "Score Overproduced by". What was the deal with that?<br><br>Well, I thought honesty was a virtue! But seriously, Jerry Bruckheimer quite rightly asked me not to give him "that old-fashioned Pirate music," and Gore Verbinski, who I adore and did The Ring with, said, "Well, it is a pirate movie, so we have to disguise it." In the end, I spent a day and a half writing tunes, Klaus Badelt wrote a lot of stuff, and we rolled up our sleeves, got drunk, behaved in a debauched way, and produced a score!<br><br>There was a lot of criticism regarding that score, but in the end it had to serve the film - which it did. You seem to get a lot of criticism on any project you do.<br><br>I had the misfortune of going onto the Film Score Monthly web site recently to look something up and vanity made me type in my own name. I suddenly realized that you can't ever get it right. Who do people want me to be? The guy that writes Matchstick Men? Or the guy that writes The Rock? Or the guy that writes Driving Miss Daisy? My need is ultimately to write for myself. I mock myself and I'm ironic about the way I speak about it because if I take it too seriously, it would be a pompous and boring thing to do. But at the same time I take each note I write very seriously – none of them are random.<br><br>The Internet Movie Database always lists you as being attached to multiple projects, so I was curious, what's Sharktail?<br><br>I complained to Jeffrey Katzenberg that I couldn't cross any more Red Seas, or deal with any more horses that can't speak – I wanted to do one of the fun animated movies instead. There's also a hip-hop element in Sharktail, and I haven't been there yet, so it's new territory! King Arthur is still in production, and I literally just got the first bits of footage just before you came here.<br><br>Are you working on all of these projects simultaneously?<br><br>I'm thinking about them! I'm also working with Jim Brooks on his new comedy, Spanglish.<br><br>And speaking of comedies, you recently did Matchstick Men for Ridley, which had a very Nino Rota vibe to it....<br><br>And I gave him credit! I thought, what if Nino had written the theme and I was just doing the variations? But I bet I'm going to get criticized for that because it's not like Gladiator.<br><br>So when did you last have a vacation?<br><br>Well, I went to Japan for a couple of days at the end of November for the Japanese premiere of Samurai, but look, I love what I do! In January I'll travel to Morocco because Ridley will be shooting his next movie, Kingdom of Heaven, so that's like a holiday!<br><br>My family and I are going away at Christmas, and what we used to do would be to rent a house in the mountains and go on these skiing holidays. It would be a crappy house, not as nice as the one we live in, my wife was still going to the market, and we're still washing our plates – so it wasn't a vacation, it was a lot of work! It's taken us a long time, but we just figured it out: we're not practical with vacations – we're staying at hotels! But while the Zimmer family isn't talented when it comes to vacations, we're talented when it comes to work!<br><br>I sat through Samurai the other day, and for the first time watched the whole movie from top to tail with everything finished and completed. It felt really good, better than a vacation. But luckily there were enough things wrong for me to think that I learned something from the experience, and now I can't wait for the next project to try these new ideas out.<br><br>The soundtrack to The Last Samurai is available from Elektra Records, and the film is currently in theaters. Matchstick Men is available on Varese Sarabande Records.<br><br>With thanks to Chet Mehta at Chasen & Co, Jason Cienkus at Warner Brothers, and Nina Lynch and Mark Wherry at Media Ventures for helping with this interview. And, of course, special thanks to Hans.Mulan get his release... through Disney+, 4th September.Mulan is being released on sept 4th. Can't wait to hear Harry's score!!!!Here's an interview about Last Samurai from Soundtrack.net https: //www.soundtrack. net/content/article/?id=112You can find an interview with Hans on his process for TLS on soundtrack.net somewhere, back in 2003 or 2004
The tracklist they posted has 58 tracks and yours contains only 54<br>interesting thing, He never really spoke about Last Samurai. but you have to realize, even when He speaks, its not always the truth. <br><br>The only thing I know, in 2013 doing press for Rush, He really said the hardest job was Last Samurai, well its not true according to himself, if you watch the behind the scenes stuff from Matchstick Men from 2003, right there He says that he was working on 3 huge films, (tears of the sun / Pirates / last samurai) and Mathstick men was the absolute hardest for him.<br><br>also Ed Zwick talks about working with Hans on the dvd commentary sometimes, but nothing really fancy.<br><br>Im sure there is an interview for this film with him, since he was at the premierI am struggling to find an interview where Hans speaks about this soundtrack. Does it even exist? <br>I spent the last hours digging but nothing. I always desired to hear some comments about it, like he does for the other works he's done.<br>I know it's a far stretch for Hans To release docu scores, but am really curious as to what Brave Miss World, Believer and Jalous of the Birds sound like...<br><br><br>@Mephariel<br>You can find Great Bear Rainforest on bleedingfingersmusic.com under Anze RozmanMondo only offered to send me a return label and a refund. No info yet on if they plan to fix it. :-/
Mine arrived today and is definitely sped up.LOL klaus badelt hardly composed pirates 1You know what? I love the booklet credits! Klaus Badelt is the same guy who scored Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.Thanks Hybrid soldier for the good news<br>I can't wait to see the documental film and hear the score of lorne balfe & hans zimmer.A score will be released.<br><br>You can always count on Lorne for that. It's in the works.
What was the last Zimmer documentary score that they released outside of BBC? <br><br>I am still waiting for The Great Bear Rainforest.I hope they can the soundtrack release for "Rebuilding Paradise" composed by Hans zimmer & Lorne balfe, including an original song for the film. I hope there is a possibility that they will release the score.How to get this at all?Any news about Rebuilding Paradise soundtrack?@Hybrid:<br>Any news about a release for Ron Howard "Rebuilding Paradise" soundtrack by Hans ans Lorne. The documentary airing today. Any info will be much Appreciated.
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Steve JablonskyGary DworetskyJay FloodJon Aschalew
ComposerAdditional MusicAdditional ArrangementsAmbient Music Design
The Last Witch Hunter
Label: Milan Records
Length: 64'57
HZimmer.com rating:        Not yet rated
Fans rating:     rate at 1 out of 5 rate at 2 out of 5 rate at 3 out of 5 rate at 4 out of 5 rate at 5 out of 5   2/5 (4389 votes)
  1. I Curse You With Life (8:11)
  2. Three Is Trouble (3:21)
  3. Judgement (3:12)
  4. Well Hello, Witch Hunter (4:23)
  5. Lights Out (1:06)
  6. The Witch Queen (4:06)
  7. I Must Remember (3:31)
  8. Good Hunting (6:36)
  9. Remember Your Death (4:45)
  10. This Isn't Real (3:50)
  11. I Am Reborn (4:19)
  12. You Have To Fight (3:01)
  13. By Iron And Fire (11:26)
  14. At Your Service (3:10)
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superultramegaa reply Replies: 2 || 2018-04-28 23:42:32
Well, I'm finally listening to this score, and while I think it's a lot of fun, there's really no excuse for the lack of instrument variety here. It's so frustrating because I know how amazing Steve's use of woodwinds are when he's given the chance to use them, but for whatever reason, he just refuses to include them in any more of his scores. It's like he thinks they can only be used in animation and fantasy. Which is not the case at all.

This movie would have been perfect to have some Silence of the Lambs/Howard Shore type of aesthetic with brooding woodwinds, along with the really intense string work he already has here. Maybe use a low clarinet for some of the statements of the main theme similarly to the way it was used for the History of the Ring leitmotif from LOTR. Something to vary it up! Maybe more harps instead of just piano sounding instruments for the emotional tracks' underscores?

While I definitely enjoy this score, it's pretty disappointing considering what it could have been. It even vaguely resembles some of Howard Shore and Christopher Young's more Gothic work, why couldn't Steve go all the way with that style?


Olive2018-04-29 03:32:11
Sometimes the end is not valid from an "Silence of the Lambs/Howard Shore" approach. ;)


superultramegaa2018-04-30 01:24:35
What do you mean? That you think a Howard Shore approach wouldn't work, or that it's invalid? Having a hard time wrapping my brain around that sentence.

sibuda reply Replies: 1 || 2018-04-28 14:30:56
Just heard the track "I Must Remember". OMG, what a cheap rip-off of The Dark Knights Harvey Dent music. I mean, really??? I like Jablonskys motivation of scoring melodical scores, but sometimes he's copying some stuff so abnormal cheap, just like in Transformers the cue from Zack Hemsey. Why oh why...???


superultramegaa2018-04-28 15:07:50
Teeeeeeemp traaaaaaaaaacks!

Everan reply Replies: 3 || 2016-05-20 00:01:11
So, just saw two clips for TMNT 2 and his new theme sounds so cool!! Hoping for a soon release of it

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Joshua2016-05-20 02:57:17
I concur. Really can't wait to hear what Steve brings here.


Brent2016-05-20 07:01:37
I'm really excited for this! Bring it on, Steve!


Everan2016-05-21 06:31:12
Steve posted an image on fb, with the tracks getting ready for the album release so it should be soon. 10 tracks confirmed so far

Ds reply Replies: 12 || 2015-10-22 08:46:52
The movie was as bad as the trailer suggested, and the score really was average. Really waiting for the big Jablonsky to return...


Brent2015-10-22 19:02:45
Here's hoping he can do something huge with TMNT 2, especially more in the style of the first Transformers. Though, I'm pretty excited. He's got a couple films coming out in the next year or so that have me intrigued. TMNT 2, Deepwater Horizon and possibly 13 Hours. Hybrid, do you know if he'll do Michael's new movie?


...2015-10-22 21:28:24
Yes I agree. Jab has potential. Lately he's just worked on some lame movies:/


David2015-10-22 23:46:39
@Brent, if he didn't do 13 Hours it would be the first time he hasn't collaborated with Bay since 2003 on Bad Boys II! Rabin may have composed, but he did additional music. He even did the 2003 Texas Chainsaw, produced by Bay's production company Platinum Dunes.

@..., a composer doesn't get to work on any movie they want. They are hired. So it's not like Jablonsky is picking and choosing his movies. Besides, he was an infant daughter now. I'm sure he'll take whatever work he can get!


...2015-10-23 00:32:14
@David

Yes of course I know that they get hired. I just hope he'll get a great movie next!


Edmund Meinerts2015-10-23 00:55:23
I don't think the quality of the movie has to reflect on the quality of the score. Look at King Arthur - totally eh movie, one of the most epic things Hans Zimmer has ever done. Or Cutthroat Island by John Debney. Or Godzilla by David Arnold. Or Jupiter Ascending by Giacchino. Or Paycheck by Powell. Hell, Jablonsky's four best scores for me are Steamboy, Transformers, Your Highness and D-War - NONE of which are good movies!

What matters more is that the movie provides a great canvas to paint on. 800-year-old Vin Diesel fighting witches in New York City? There's no excuse for that score not being fun.

I haven't actually heard it yet, mind - just saying on principle. :p


Hybrid Soldier2015-10-23 08:25:16
David you mean since Armageddon, actually... lol


Leo2015-10-24 03:47:39
Edmund, just a question... what you didn't like about Steamboy? Even if it's not as great as Otomo's early movie Akira, it's still loads of fun, whith gorgeous animation (and score). :c


Edmund Meinerts2015-10-24 09:36:30
Steamboy has an incredible score and awesome steampunk awesomeness in every frame, so that goes a long way. I just didn't find the characters all that interesting. Ray is kind of boring (and I don't like Anna Paquin's voice work...she bugged me in Castle in the Sky as well), and Scarlett is just irritating (and yes, I know she's supposed to be, but it doesn't help matters). Some of the visuals are really phenomenal, but the second half of the movie is just action sequence after action sequence after action sequence, and while that does a lot to make Jablonsky's score as fun as it is, watching it gets kind of wearing after a while.

It's not a bad movie (not like those other three), but not a particularly good one either I'd say. I'd put every single thing Hayao Miyazaki's ever done (even Ponyo) over it.


Ds2015-10-24 11:07:02
Edmund, if you consider Transformers as a bad movie, then I think you should absolutely stay away from The Last Witch Hunter. It makes TF look like a masterpiece in every possible way :-p


Brent2015-11-14 01:00:50
So, um, Lorne is doing 13 Hours. What the heck happened? Not a bad choice, just was expecting Jablonsky.


-,-2015-11-14 01:27:21
oh no! please not lorne balfe score 13 hours. one of the worst rc compser!


MrZimmerFan2016-01-16 13:00:30
Not bad work from Jablonsky, of course, there is a better works, but this is a totally guilty pleasure

MeMeME reply Replies: 0 || 2015-10-29 16:02:52
Great Score! Love it!

isildur reply Replies: 0 || 2015-10-14 21:00:15
"At Your Service" is amazing fun. "I Curse You with Life" is almost similar to "Loki's Theme" from Thor2.
Waiting to hear the whole album

MrZimmerFan reply Replies: 3 || 2015-09-30 22:58:33
1. I Curse You With Life
2. Three Is Trouble
3. Judgement
4. Well Hello, Witch Hunter
5. Lights Out
6. The Witch Queen
7. I Must Remember
8. Good Hunting
9. Remember Your Death
10. This Isn't Real
11. I Am Reborn
12. You Have To Fight
13. By Iron And Fire
14. At Your Service


MrZimmerFan2015-10-02 13:15:49
By Iron and Fire, the first track of Jablonsky is truly lengthy... 11 minutes!


Hale2015-10-02 20:06:55
Take a listen to "Tears of the Sun" ' Ending Action Scene.. :D


MrZimmerFan2015-10-02 21:37:54
But in that is additional music

MrZimmerFan reply Replies: 1 || 2015-09-27 12:09:11
Three tracks from Milan

https: //soundcloud.com/editions-milan-music/sets/the-last-witch-hu nter-le-dernier-chasseur-de-sorcieres-steve-jablonsky


MrZimmerFan2015-09-27 12:11:36
Sounds good

Macejko reply Replies: 1 || 2015-09-17 20:50:03
What was that about terrible covers, Edmund? :P


Edmund Meinerts2015-09-17 20:56:17
Oh dear... D:

Hybrid Soldier reply Replies: 4 || 2015-09-14 19:25:52
New Steve !


Ds2015-09-14 21:21:48
As usual with Steve I m looking forward to it, but seeing how uninspired this whole movie looks like, I fear they just asked Steve some generic music in order to "sound like a modern blockbuster". But I hope I m wrong!!! :-)


Brent2015-09-14 21:44:17
Yes! Hopefully it's good...


MrZimmerFan2015-09-15 13:37:52
I hope that, Brent...


Anonymous2015-09-15 16:20:30
...and I thought we should associate all "witch hunting" movies to Atli! ^_^

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The Last Witch Hunter soundtrack - Steve Jablonsky 2015