Will Hans Zimmer score the new Superman?

UPDATED on 12/7!

I knew it! Zimmer debunks the rumor in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter!

Zimmer: I met Chris Nolan once and he knows Zack Snyder and therefore I’m doing Superman. You know that’s all it is.

THR: It may stem from the fact a lot of people would like to see you take that project. Based on the Batman films.

Zimmer: How can I say it: My heart belongs to Batman. I wouldn’t even know how to go and give voice to it. I haven’t thought about it.

THR: Not to mention following in the footsteps of John Williams.

Zimmer: Right! John Williams, the greatest living composer — full stop. And that happens to be one of his greatest themes. So no. And I’m not thinking of rewriting Beethoven’s ninth either. It just sounds like a thankless task, you know? So that’s unequivocally a no. I have never spoken with Zack Snyder.

Score one for vindication! I’m glad I stuck to my guns on this one. My original article follows.

Nearly every news site on the Internet is reporting it as fact, but I keep reading the original source and I’m just not convinced it’s as “official” as everyone thinks it is.

Hans Zimmer co-composed the music for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight with James Newton Howard and most recently worked with writer/director Christopher Nolan again with his massively awesome score for Nolan’s equally awesome Inception. Nolan, in turn, is producing Warner Bros.’ new Superman movie that’ll be directed by Zack Snyder.

So it makes sense that Nolan would ask his go-to music man to score the Man of Steel. But I’m not with the rest of the Internet — yet — in declaring it a given.

The comments heard ’round the world were spoken by Zimmer to NBC San Diego at a DVD release party for Inception. Here’s a quote from their article:

Given that Nolan is also overseeing the development of a renewed revival of “Superman” helmed by Zack Snyder, Popcorn Biz had to ask Zimmer’s opinion on a burning question, whether he works on that film or not: do you re-employ John Williams’ theme for the Man of Steel, one of the most lauded scores in film history, or do you start anew with a fresh, fully original score?

Source: Composer Hans Zimmer Talks Theme Music For Nolan, Batman – and Superman? | NBC San Diego

Exhibit A:

“whether he works on that film or not”

Exhibit B:

The conversation was initiated not by Zimmer himself but by NBC’s reporter on the scene. “How do you,” rather than “How will you.” Which leads to …

Exhibit C:

NBC’s article title has a question mark after “Superman.” Had Zimmer confirmed that he was indeed scoring the new Superman movie, would NBC’s headline need a question mark? I’m convinced — for now — that this is a hypothetical conversation being reported everywhere elsewhere as fact. Not even NBC presents it that way. And even Entertainment Weekly –published by Time Warner, which owns Warner Bros., who’ll be releasing the movie — references only the NBC piece in their story declaring this as truth. No other source. Not even themselves, and you’d think they’d know if the news were indeed official.

Still, let’s see how Zimmer answered NBC’s question:

“It’s a hard one,” mused Zimmer, “but I followed one of the most iconic things on ‘Batman’ with Chris as well, and it’s the same thing. You are allowed to reinvent, but you have to try to be as good or at least as iconic and it has to resonate and it has to become a part of the zeitgeist. That’s the job. On ‘Gladiator’ I remember people always talking about ‘Spartacus’ and I kept telling them, ‘When you saw “Spartacus” and how it affected it you, that’s how I want a modern audience to be affected by what we do now.’ So I think ultimately you’re supposed to reinvent.”

An excellent answer — and a generality. He never says he’s actually doing it. He’s just answering a question.

I’d certainly be just fine if he did — just take a look at his credits, or better yet take a listen to one of his soundtracks, and you’ll be as convinced as I am that he could do an incredible job.

And I also agree that it needs to be something entirely new. John Williams’s original Superman score is my favorite movie theme of all time, but this new film really needs to establish itself as its own thing. Even Smallville has employed those famous notes (most capably in the legendary “Rosetta” episode starring Christopher Reeve), and the Williams theme (re-purposed by John Ottman) was the only rousing thing about Superman Returns — a film that most certainly didn’t deserve it.

Even though I can’t imagine Superman without that music, a new score is necessary for the new take.

But how can you top Williams? You can’t. You just have to hope you can come up with something just as memorable, and that’s going to be the nearly impossible challenge for Zimmer or whomever else gets the big job.

More news as it happens.

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