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Zack Snyder had a tough gig ahead of him when it came to making the second reboot of the Superman franchise, since Brian Singer’s Superman Returns didn’t win audiences over quite so much. (Though our resident master Josh Tyler loved it.) But everything Snyder does is given a weary glance when it’s first announced. But when you’re somebody as iconic as composer Hans Zimmer, there’s a much different kind of anticipation involved, especially after his masterful work for Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Would you be surprised to know that the man himself was even a little nervous about the gig?
While, talking with CNN about his score for History Channel’s miniseriesThe Bible, Zimmer offered a few insights as to where the score for Man of Steel would take viewers’ ear drums. And it isn’t the doom-laden sounds of The Dark Knight. For this film, he found his inspiration in the simple decency of the American Midwest, a place the German-born Zimmer sees as the opposite of the metropolis life that people think of when considering America. He had to consider what values make a man good in such a complex society, which he sees as a different approach than the original score, composed by the even more iconic John Williams.
"Look, that was daunting. Seriously. He's the greatest film composer out there, without a doubt, and it happens to be one of his iconic pieces of music, so I spent three months just procrastinating and not even getting a start on the thing, because I was so intimidated: 'Oh my God, I'm following in John Williams' footsteps.'
Instead of the usual sweeping orchestras with string sections galore, Zimmer has toned it down, using a grouping of pedal steel guitars, percussion via titanium and steel structures, and an all-star drum circle, composed of such far-flung musicians as Jason Bonham, Pharrell Williams, and Sheila E. “I remember phoning Pharrell,” Zimmer muses, “and him saying, ‘I’m in the middle of producing the Beyonce album in Miami.’ ‘Jason Bonham’s in Miami, and he’s getting on a plane!’ Next morning, there’s Pharrell, looking a little bleary-eyed.” I should only hope that some video of that drumming session hits the Internet at some point.
Zimmer’s virtuous score can be heard in its entirety when Man of Steel releases on June 14, 2013. And until we have a more action-packed trailer to show you, here’s the one already out there.