Hans 'Long John' Zimmer
|Behind the scenes|
- "I love writing music and coming up with new themes. It gets trickier because the style was established very quickly in the first one, and then suddenly you start falling into things and start identifying the new characters in a musical way. Then it just starts rolling again, and you begin getting fresh ideas."
- ―Hans Zimmer
Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) is an Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe award-winning film score composer. He had scored over 100 films and been honored with an Academy Award, two Golden Globes and four Grammys. In 2003, ASCAP presented him the prestigious Henry Mancini award for Lifetime Achievement for his impressive and influential body of work. Hans Zimmer worked on the music for the Pirates of the Caribbean series, often being credited as Hans 'Long John' Zimmer.
Not much is known of Hans Zimmer's early life. It was known that his interest in music began early and, after a move from Germany to the U.K., would lead to playing with and producing various bands, including The Buggles, whose Video Killed the Radio Star was the first music video to ever appear on MTV. But the world of film music was what Zimmer really wanted to be involved with. Not long after meeting established film composer Stanley Myers, the two founded the London-based Lillie Yard Recording Studios together, collaborating on such films as My Beautiful Laundrette.
It was Zimmer's solo work in 1988's A World Apart, however, that gained the attention of director Barry Levinson, who then asked him to score Rain Man, Zimmer's first American film. Levinson's instinct was right: the score's Oscar nomination that followed would be the first of nine.
With Zimmer's subsequent move to Hollywood, he expanded the range of genres he explored, and his first venture into the world of animation, 1994's The Lion King, brought Zimmer the Oscar. Zimmer's career has been marked by a unique ability to adeptly move between genres—between smaller films and comedies (such as Driving Miss Daisy, Green Card, True Romance, As Good as It Gets and Something's Gotta Give) and big blockbusters (including Crimson Tide, Mission: Impossible 2, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, The Last Samurai, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Batman Begins and The Da Vinci Code)
In the middle of Zimmer's unparalleled pace of taking on new projects, his ability to re-invent genres is what is perhaps most striking. The film scores Zimmer has done this for speak for themselves, whether it has been for drama in Rain Man, action in Ridley Scott's Black Rain, historical in Gladiator, war in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line or the dark comic-book world of The Dark Knight.
Zimmer has received a total of 10 Golden Globe nominations, 10 Grammy nominations and 9 Oscar nominations, the most recent for Christopher Nolan's Inception. His innovative and powerful score has been praised as the Best Score of 2010 by countless critics groups and has earned him BAFTA, Golden Globe, Grammy and Critics' Choice Award nominations. His other Oscar nominations include Sherlock Holmes, Rain Man, Gladiator, The Lion King, As Good as It Gets, The Preacher's Wife, The Thin Red Line and The Prince of Egypt. Zimmer has been honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Film Composition from the National Board of Review. He also received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 2010.
Some of Zimmer's other credits include the blockbuster Rango, directed by Gore Verbinski, Megamind, How Do You Know, Nancy Meyers' It's Complicated, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2, Frost/Nixon, The Dark Knight and Ron Howard's Angels & Demons. Zimmer's work in films in 2011-2012 included Kung Fu Panda 2, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (December 2011) and The Dark Knight Rises (July 20, 2012), which marked Zimmer's 4th collaboration with director Christopher Nolan.
Pirates of the Caribbean
- "I always saw 'Pirates' as rock-and-roll scores, because pirates were sort of the rock-and-rollers of the past."
- ―Hans Zimmer
The Curse of the Black Pearl
While Hans Zimmer was working on The Last Samurai, he promised that he was not to work on any other film at that time. Zimmer was soon approached by director Gore Verbinski, who wanted him to score Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Although having told Verbinski that he couldn't score the movie, Zimmer suggested bringing in his friend Klaus Badelt. Though he thought Klaus was a wonderful composer, Zimmer couldn't help himself from writing many of the tunes, and then orchestrated the way the tunes would sound as well, setting the tone. Zimmer did want Klaus to have the main credit on The Curse of the Black Pearl, believing that he was immensely talented and he had put a lot of work into that score, though Zimmer himself would be credited with "Score produced by".
Dead Man's Chest and At World's End
Hans Zimmer would work on the two sequels of Gore Verbinski's trilogy, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, where he was first credited as "Hans 'Long John' Zimmer". He created memorable leitmotifs for the gallery of Pirates of the Caribbean characters thereby giving them their distinctive musical sound in the films, creating full-bodied orchestral scores which managed to walk the tightrope between the stirringly traditional in grand Hollywood tradition and simultaneously innovative, imaginative and adventurous. Zimmer would receive a Grammy Award in 2007 for his work in Dead Man's Chest.
On Stranger Tides
After Gore's Pirates trilogy was completed, Hans Zimmer later returned for making the music for the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, this time directed by Rob Marshall. It was in this film that he would first work with the musical duo Rodrigo y Gabriela:
- "You try to treat each film as an autonomous movie, but at the same time, there's great fun in revisiting old friends, as it were. We now have Penélope Cruz playing Angelica, who's Spanish, so I felt that there could be some Latin influences in the score for On Stranger Tides. I've been a big fan of Mexican guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela for years now, and I asked them if they wanted to come and play with us. We've been having a really great time with them being part of the musical world this film gets to inhabit."
For all of his years as a film music composer, Zimmer, a keen student of world music, has often brilliantly interwoven ethnic sounds into many of his scores, from African (A World Apart, The Power of One, Disney's The Lion King, Jerry Bruckheimer's Black Hawk Down) to Asian (Black Rain, The Last Samurai, Kung Fu Panda) and beyond. But as one who started his career as a rock musician in The Buggles, Zimmer has maintained his links to that world. Because Rodrigo y Gabriela were flamenco guitarists, but come from metal music and the rock-and-roll world, Zimmer felt that it was a perfect fit between the duo and the Pirates team. Zimmer also worked with composer Eric Whitacre on the "Mermaid" score, in which Whitacre took part in composing the choir.
On May 19, 2011, Hans Zimmer was one of the special guest stars that made an appearance at the Pirates Marathon at the El Capitan Theatre. Despite working on the first four Pirates films, Hans Zimmer would not return to compose for the fifth film, Dead Men Tell No Tales. Zimmer would instead be replaced by Geoff Zanelli, one of his longtime protégés. As part of Zimmer's Remote Control Productions, Zanelli composed themes for several of Zimmer’s previous Pirates scores, most notably On Stranger Tides.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Composer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Composer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Composer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Composer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Tales of the Code: Wedlocked - Composer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (soundtrack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (soundtrack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (soundtrack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (soundtrack)