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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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Marc StreitenfeldBenjamin WallfischSunna WehrmeijerSven Faulconer
ComposerAdditional MusicAdditional MusicMusic Assistant
Robin Hood
Label: Varese Sarabande
Length: 51'12
HZimmer.com rating:        5/5
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 (14263 votes)
  1. Destiny (3:35)
  2. Creatures (2:09)
  3. Fate Has Smiled Upon Us (2:01)
  4. Godfrey (3:32)
  5. Ambush (1:14)
  6. Pact Sworn In Blood (2:52)
  7. Returning The Crown (1:13)
  8. Planting The Fields (1:17)
  9. Sherwood Forest (2:19)
  10. John Is King (4:01)
  11. Robin Speaks (2:31)
  12. Killing Walter (1:58)
  13. Nottingham Burns (2:11)
  14. Siege (2:09)
  15. Landing Of The French (2:46)
  16. Walter’s Burial (3:04)
  17. Preparing For Battle (2:38)
  18. Charge (1:18)
  19. Clash (2:41)
  20. The Final Arrow (2:29)
  21. The Legend Begins (1:27)
  22. Merry Men (1:48)
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Robin Hood reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-28 00:00:00
@Lasse

Thanks buddy. I do know quite a bit about the business but on the composing side of things? I think I'd prefer to stick to my admiration of it. I'm very interested by film music a great deal but I'm not really in the position where I would want to become a composer myself. Anyhow, Just look at all the great composers you have out there already. We're spoiled. :D

Enrico reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
Good clips from this score...I hope that isn't a score like the last one... Bleee
I hope that Marc has used good orchestral sound (and not synth sound)...

Miles reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
It seems pretty promising! "Fate Has Smiled Upon Us" sounds similar to "Arrival To Earth" from Transformers (which is a plus), and "Nottingham Burns" has a truly distinctive Celtic sound to it. Looking forward to both the music and the movie!

Robin Hood reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
@Miles

I wasn't a huge fan of the Transformers score Miles. Outside of theme, there was nothing really about it that I hadn't heard before and done better.

That being said, I can understand you liking the similarity between "Fate Has Smiled Upon Us" and "Arrival To Earth" But that could also be a bad thing. You have to remember this is a Robin Hood film, and one that claims to be historically accurate.

Robin Hood isn't Robin Hood if the music doesn't hold any relation to the character, period etc.

That's one of the reasons Clash Of The Titans got such a poor response from the large majority of film score listeners. In all that rush to the finish, Djawadi forgot what he was scoring. If the music doesn't say Ancient Greece? Then why put it in a film that wants you to believe it is?

It's not about old-fashioned vs. modern. It's about pure common sense. If Djawadi isn't to blame, then the producers most certainly are.

Even when Zimmer scored Gladiator which was a considerable U-turn from the established sound, he still used a collection of instruments and Lisa Gerrard's vocals to say to the listening, you are in Rome. This is what I believe and hope Robin Hood will achieve also.

Lasse reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
@ Robin Hood

thats true, the score really have to fit the time periode of the movie

Robin Hood reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
@Lasse

Yes that's right Lasse.

This "McDonalds" approach to film scoring has to stop. I have no problem with Remote Control being part of the business and the talent that come from Zimmer's company, but they cannot just be putting the same score into one film, they would another. This approach will in the long run do nothing but backfire badly.

Even Revenge Of The Fallen, whilst Modern and set in the present day, Jablonsky/Bay didn't even attempt to reflect the fact that the action for the last half of the film was taking place in Egypt. They could have had the entire cast in New York and the music would have been just as suitable. Not to mention the ruining of the score by having Linkin Park involved. Bay needs to be keeping these kinds of popular artists completely away from the scoring duties.

I thought both Transformers scores had their moments, the original was enjoyable, nothing special, the sequel was worse, I don't recall a standout track like "Arrival To Earth" from the original in Fallen and I doubt a complete release would change that.

Maybe Jablonsky will pull a Zimmer and his third score will be a vast improvement on the previous two.

If Robin Hood does appear to be the sort of score a film of this kind should absolutely have? I hope it's a huge success. As everybody knows, these Hollywood producers only know money, and if they see this film with that sort of score? They will only want the same. Now nobody wants the "same" but we all know what that means, it means scores that reflect their setting, reflect their characters, reflect their time period and bring well written, memorable music to the table in the process.

This is the turnaround that needs to happen in film music. Hopefully Hans and the folks at Remote Control will realise this, and bring good work to the table, before it's too late.

The way things are going now? Scores like Clash Of The Titans are already going out of fashion. People grow, people change. Eventually this sort of Remote Control scoring is going to become so oversaturated that it will lead to the general public complaining about it like they would anything else. We all know producers take the general public very seriously who attend their test screenings. Therefore all that will happen is you will start seeing your first batch of RC scores being rejected, thus starting the downfall of manufactured film music.

I don't want to see this happen.

Remote Control have talent to offer and I really do hope they will get their act together.

We shall have to wait and see.

Robert James reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
@ Robin Hood

Amen to that! ;)

Lasse reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-27 00:00:00
@ Robin Hood

whit your knowledge of score you should have been a composer :) im sure you would done a really great job :D

Lasse reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
thank you Ravi Krishna , the soundtrack sounds amazing :D
i love Fate has smiled upon us and landing of the french sounds interesting along whit Nottingham burns :D

this soundtrack is really gonna be great ;D

Robert James reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
John Williams
James Horner
Alan Silvestri
Danny Elfman

---> John Powell <---

How To Train Your Dragon. HOLY CRAP!!! AWESOME.

These guys are the MASTERS of ORCHESTRATION right now! ;)

craig reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
@Ravi Krishna

wow thanks! i missed your post before, just heard the samples. :)

i think i was right! this music is making my blood boil!!! something none of zimmer's latest works have done for me.

i love love love clash!!!!!! the orchestration is awesome, im really pumped for this score now!!!!!!!!!!

Miles reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
What does "orchestration" mean? Is it how the music is arranged or something like that? I'd like to know.

Michael reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
Hahaha and people said Streitenfeld was going to SUCK.

Who's laughing now? :P

Robin Hood reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
@Miles

Yes you are on the right wavelength buddy. It's what part of the orchestra performs which instrument at any given point in the music, the overall sound of the performance and how the performance of the players come across.

Also here is the website :)

http://www.colosseum.de/index.php

You just need to search for Robin Hood.

Robin Hood reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
I agree craig.

Zimmer has such great ideas, yet to this day continues to ruin them all with his really bad approach to the orchestration. :(

craig reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
i think i will enjoy robin hood much more than any of zimmer's last scores, like sherlock holmes, angels & demons, the dark knight and even pirates 3.

why? because whilst zimmer can come up with a catchy melody and potential for a great sounding score, the orchestration on his big scores always blows, it sounds completely banal.

look at when horner ripped off part of gladiator in avatar, he actually improved upon it and made it sound far better simply because horner is a master at orchestration.

thats why i wouldnt ever put zimmer in the same league as powell.

powell knows how to orchestrate well, he may not be quite as big of a name as of yet, but he's getting there and hope he does.

just like the samples of this score i have heard so far have a good classically orchestrated sound to them, marc's score doesn't sound like a bunch of musicians playing the same note, along with an in your face mix reminiscent more of rock music than classical in structure.

it may sound like im ripping on zimmer, im not, im just stating the facts. i do like zimmer alot, but none of his scores sound as good as they could because of the completely amateurish approach to the orchestration.

remember all those re-recordings you have heard of zimmer that sound crap? it's not down to a bad performance 9 times out of 10, it's down to the orchestration. zimmer covers up bad orchestration by making everything sound loud and banal. if he would just know how to orchestrate the right way he wouldn't even need to do what he does. maybe one day he will.

composers like powell and gregson-williams etc have clearly figured it out already, so what's the problem with zimmer? i say it's either carelessness to his approach or a pure ego-driven mindset, one of the two.

food for thought.

Ravi Krishna reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
You can now hear sound clips at the Colosseum page. Sounds pretty good IMO. "Nottingham Burns" is... interesting. Is it actual 'real' Celtic material?

Christopher reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
AMEN TO THAT

Lasse reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
Enrico: I think its wrong to say that Marc Streitenfeld isnt good to make score for great films.

he made a awsome job whit the score for american gangster, and from what i have heard the robin hood score will be awsome :)
i like Marc Streitenfelds score and i hope he will make score for more then just ridley scotts movies.

Sorry for my bad englis :S Im from norway so that explains it :P

Enrico reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
Lately is coming up very bad music from MV (except Zimmer)... :(
It's noise, not music...I mean Ramin, Steve and others...very bad scores

Enrico reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
I agree with Craig: I think that Robin Hood should have the elements that he wrote...however I thought and think that Robin Hood should be done by Zimmer...This composer (M.S.) isn't so good to do these great films...

craig reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
"The musical score is good as well, but not very memorable"

thats what i read on one review.

to me? thats good enough. believe it or not? alot of people dont remember the score to gladiator either.

now a lot here will say "i remember it!!" as do i, i think it was very memorable, then again i know the score extremely well. i think alot of people out side of the closing music wouldnt remember a note, especially with the oversaturation of the zimmer sound in hollywood now and the crappy knockoffs like clash of the titans.

i for one am still very much looking forward to it, i think that also do to it appearing to have 3 things i really wanted it too:

1) a celtic feel reflective of the period and character
2) a symphonic sound that sounds old-fashioned yet modern too
3) a good main theme, which this film has.

Robert James reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
OMG How could I forget?!

Michael Giacchino goes on that list also. Whoops! :D

Michael reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
Yep, Giacchino is AWESOME. Very good with handling his orchestration, absolutely. ;-)

Miles reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
Thanks :)

Lasse reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
@Robin Hood

Thats good to hear :) i like the people on this site very much and i think its fun to know others thoughts on film score :)

craig reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
i can see that happening too. :(

oh well at least i have robin hood to look forward too!!!! :D

Paul reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
@ Robin Hood

I agree about "I Don't Think Now Is The Best Time". That cue probably has the best orchestration of Zimmer's entire career so far. Even then it could still be improved considerably.

I wish he would have scored Pirates 4 maybe he could have continued with that sort of approach. I have a real worry though that the franchise is only going to go backwards, musically especially. Oh well. :/

Robin Hood reply Replies: 0 || 2010-04-26 00:00:00
@Paul

That's true and I have the same feelings towards continuing the Pirates films.

I really cannot see Bruckheimer wanting to progress with the music in the direction it started to go with At World's End, more so digress.

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Robin Hood soundtrack - Marc Streitenfeld 2010