Composer Zimmer on 'Holmes,' Oscar's Troubling Taste
Robert Downey Jr.’s brash, spirited performance in the title role of the Guy Ritchie film “Sherlock Holmes” may have taken home a Golden Globe on Sunday night, but a different – but equally bold – aspect of the film has a better chance to draw attention from the Academy. Hans Zimmer’s score turns action-movie music on its head, using a small group of acoustic musicians to whip up a playful, dynamic, inventive folk-based sound that plays a dominant role in the film as it trashes and reinvents the conventions for this kind of movie.
The German-born composer talked to theWrap about the film in his Santa Monica studio, where he composes in a remarkable room that manages to combine thick carpeting, plush red couches and dark carved wood bookcases with a huge array of computers, synthesizers and recording equipment.
The conversation was interrupted several times by urgent conversations about music the prolific composer had written for an upcoming episode of “The Simpsons,” which apparently hadn’t quite passed muster with that show’s producers.
Composer Zimmer Talks Sherlock Holmes, Inception, Dark Knight, It’s Complicated
In many ways, the best thing about Sherlock Holmes is its score (released January 12), featuring exotic Hungarian and gypsy instruments. It’s one of about a hundred movie scores delivered by prolific German composer Hans Zimmer, who has earned six Oscar nominations; he won for The Lion King in 1994.
Articulate and charming, Zimmer invited me to his lair in Santa Monica, a sprawling complex housing other composers as well as rooms crammed with synthesizers, computers and towers of servers. He’s currently working on Inception for Chris Nolan, for whom he composed the score for The Dark Knight. He gave me a tour, showed me where and how he composes and explained his working process on the scores for Sherlock Holmes, It’s Complicated, Gladiator, and The Dark Knight. He even plays a bit.