Hans Zimmer: 'Man of Steel' Score Is a 'Look at America in a Different Way'

Man of Steel Poster 2 - P - 2013

The composer contrasts his "Dark Knight" trilogy tone with music for the Superman reboot, which broke a box office record this weekend.

John Williams’ theme from Superman has served as an iconic -- and instant -- affiliation with the superhero for generations of moviegoers, which was reason enough for composer Hans Zimmer, who scored the just-released Man of Steel, to exclude it from Zack Snyder's reboot.

It was perhaps Zimmer’s most daunting and difficult task on Man of Steel, which opened Friday to a record $128.7 million in the domestic box office. “Until recently, it was quite impossible for me to imagine Superman without John’s score,” Zimmer tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The legacy weighs you down. I grew up with the comic books; I grew up with the movies.”

Inspiration came when he had Snyder explain the film’s new take on the superhero. “I said, ‘tell me the story,’” Zimmer recalls. “Zack was making a very, very different movie. That sort of liberated me.”

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The result: Man of Steel’s sweeping score was inspired by the American heartland, where young Clark Kent is raised. “I went to write something about people who are hard-working, blue-collar," says Zimmer. "People who take a child in and give it the best upbringing they possibly can."

It strikes a brighter chord than Zimmer’s last superhero saga, the somber Dark Knight trilogy, for which the German composer scored all three installments. Says Zimmer: "It was time to look at America in a different way -- as opposed to being just dark and brooding, to actually celebrate something, put some hope into the music, because that’s what this character is all about.”

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Although he has now composed for both Batman and Superman, Zimmer says he has not yet been approached to score a Justice League film. He has, however, recently joined another project with a Dark Knight collaborator: Christopher Nolan’s time-travel pic Interstellar.

The directorial follow-up to The Dark Knight Rises, slated for a 2014 release, intrigued the composer beyond presenting another opportunity to work with Nolan.

“Chris keeps picking movies on subject matter right in my interest area, all the time,” Zimmer explains, citing Inception as another Nolan film that engaged his interest in science. “The whole idea of having a proper scientific discussion about the world and the universe, it’s great.”

Listen to the Man of Steel soundtrack in its entirety on Rdio or below:

Twitter: @THRMusic