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May 30, 2008


Composer Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
Return of the Dynamic Duo - Page 2


James Newton Howard: Biography

Attended the Thacher School, the Music Academy of the
West (Santa Barbara, CA)

Majored in piano at USC

Toured with Elton John as a keyboardist during the late 1970s and early 1980s

Composition Credits (Film)

The Dark Knight
The Happening
The Great Debaters
Charlie Wilson's War
I Am Legend
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Michael Clayton
Blood Diamond
Lady in the Water
King Kong
The Village
Peter Pan
The Emperor's Club
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Vertical Limit
Snow Falling on Cedars
The Sixth Sense
The Postman
One Fine Day
Space Jam
Wyatt Earp
The Fugitive
Pretty Woman









  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

Characters: Harvey Dent and The Joker

Characters: Harvey Dent and The Joker

  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

Composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

CC: In regards to BATMAN BEGINS you've mentioned that you two split the music up by having you, Hans, write the "dark" material, and you, James, write the "elegant" material. Did you divide the work up similarly for THE DARK KNIGHT or did you spread or mix your efforts out this time?

HANS ZIMMER: Well its darker and more elegant this time. How about that? Actually, I think we are more extreme this time.

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: I think we integrated even less.

HANS ZIMMER: What became an interestingly stylistic thing is, for example, the music for the Joker. He is a very uncompromising character and so he has very uncompromising music. I think some people will not call it music.

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: I think some people will be irritated by it.

HANS ZIMMER: Interestingly, this is supposed to be a Hollywood, Summer-blockbuster, but I think the music is nothing like that. It's way out there in places. Take, for instance, the harshness or perversion of the Joker's music and then have that collide with the beauty of the Harvey Dent character. I think that is what makes it interesting. The good thing is that I did not write Harvey Dent. It's very much James' creation. I just stayed in the darkness of the Joker character. It's amazing dealing with a character who is completely fearless.

CC: Now that you mention the Joker's theme, you've been quoted as saying that you had written a two-note motif for him, but somehow it didn't quite work. Why didn't it work and what did you end up doing?

HANS ZIMMER: I pretty much got it down to one note. That was really the mission from the beginning. All iconic ideas are usually based on only a few elements. It just takes a very long time to figure out how to do it. I've always had the idea in my head but I just didn't know how to do it. I tortured a lot of musicians because it was all about performance, tone, and sound. I think I spent 3 months on the one note. I played it for James first and then played it to Chris (Nolan).

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: It knocked my socks off! I have to say that it really made me jealous when I heard it. You'll understand when you hear it.

CC: I'm looking forward to hearing it.  Well our time is running short here, so let me ask you just a couple of final questions. First, was there any thought at any time, that THE DARK KNIGHT would be scored alone by either one of you?

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: Let me just jump in and say that Hans could easily have done this on his own.

HANS ZIMMER: Not without my friend! But let me ask you this, James, "Was I right in having both of us do it?"

JAMES NEWTON NOWARD: Oh yes. You were right. No doubt about it.

CC: If there is a third film, can we expect you both to come back and score it?

HANS ZIMMER: Only if Chris Nolan is writing it with his brother and directing it.

JAMES NEWTON HOWARD: that case, I think we'd jump right in again.

HANS ZIMMER: You have to realize that you are talking to the composers who are a part of a team: the actors, the editors, the cinematographer. You know, what would we do without all of these people?

CC: With your two names as a part of that team, it certainly adds to the already great anticipation for THE DARK KNIGHT. I, and countless others, are certainly looking forward to the film and hearing your collaborative score....and especially "the note." Thank you so much for the interview today.


Return to (Page 1)


More Interviews


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Neil S. Bulk (2014)
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Miho Nomura (2008)
Mark Griskey (2008)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2008)
Jeff Rona (2008)
Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (2008)
Ramin Djawadi (2008)
E.S. Posthumus (2008)
Tyler Bates(2008)
David Buckley (2008)
Christopher Lennertz (2006)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2005)
Kaveh Cohen & Michael Nielsen (2008)
Christopher Lennertz (2008)
Sascha Dikiciyan & Cris Velasco (2007)
James Dooley (2007)
Jesper Kyd (2007)
Garry Schyman (2007)
David Robidoux (2007)
Scott Glasgow (2007)
Tyler Bates (2007)
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Mychael Danna (2007)
Howard Shore (2006)
Trevor Rabin  (2006)
John Debney
Greg Edmonson
Christopher Lennertz (2003)
Erik Lundborg
Ron Jones
Edward Shearmur
Christopher Lennertz (2002)
Thad Spencer
Don Davis (2001)
Hans Zimmer
Conrad Pope
Michael Giacchino
Don Davis (1999)
Jeff Rona (1999)





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