MAN OF STEEL
Creating a Super Score
Composing the music for an epic Super Hero action adventure movie can be a daunting task, but Hans Zimmer is more than well versed in the genre, having most recently scored Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy. "Man of Steel" marks his first time collaborating with director Zack Snyder.
"Superman is so iconographic throughout the world, so the challenge of creating a film score for such a revered figure could seem overwhelming," Snyder says, "but not to Hans."
Zimmer quickly picked up and ran with the imagery of the film, beginning with the vastness of the land in the American Midwest, where Clark Kent grew up. "I immediately had this idea of endlessness, the sound of infinity, combined with the sound of flying," he remembers, "and from there I kept hearing pedal steel guitars, an archetypal American instrument, in lieu of a traditional string section. And I wanted to use them in an atypical way." He brought eight prominent pedal steel players together -- Chas Smith, Marty Rifkin, Skip Edwards, Boo Bernstein, Peter Frieberger, Rick Schmidt, JD Maness and John McClung -- to perform classical string parts.
Zimmer also assembled some of the finest drummers in the world, which he called his "drum orchestra," playing on everything from rock drum kits to tympanis and field drums. The elite group included such top percussionists as John JR Robinson, Jason Bonham, Josh Freese, Pharrell Williams, Danny Carey, Satnam Ramgotra, Toss Panos, Jim Keltner, Curt Bisquera, Trevor Lawrence Jr., Matt Chamberlain, Ryeland Allison, Bernie Dresel, Vinnie Colaiuta and Sheila E.
"It seems that with each movie I work on," Zimmer reflects, "the story inspires me to do something out of the ordinary, and 'Man of Steel' was no different."
Snyder states, "I think what he has done for 'Man of Steel' is, in a word, perfect. Stirring, commanding, and subtly weaving through the story, adding just the right tone to take us on this journey."
Though the Man of Steel has graced the pages of comics and the small and big screens in various incarnations for over 75 years, his values have remained constant, serving as a beacon in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world.
Cavill admits he did not fully comprehend the extraordinary responsibility he took on in playing the role of the world's most recognizable Super Hero until one day in Plano, when he met several Superman fans watching them film. "Their interest, and interaction with me, were enormously flattering, but also made me understand how important it is to them that I do justice to this character," he relates. "I had always held the role in very high regard, but that day really instilled in me the value of the choice I'd made, and I was so honored. Thankfully, I really believe we've stayed true to the Superman the fans expect, but brought him into our modern times, and I hope they'll really enjoy the result."
"Superman belongs to all of us," Snyder concludes. "He represents the ultimate hero, and a celebration of Super Hero culture by encompassing all the incredibly cool attributes that inspire us -- flight, speed, strength -- and the best of humanity, like the importance of family, however you define that, and our need for love and a sense of belonging in the world. That is why, amidst all the awesome visuals, the intense battles, the problems of the planet that he takes on on our behalf, we want him to win: because he's true, because he has a good heart and pure intentions. We want him to choose us, because we want to be the best that we can be, just like him."
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