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Creating a memorable score for a superhero movie can be a daunting task, especially when it involves characters who have already had hit movies made about them. Such is the case for composer Junkie XL (real name Tom Holkenborg), who is assisting Hans Zimmer on the score for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The composer still has a year to create an iconic sound for the film, and while he’s working, he’s taking into consideration excellent advice given from director Zack Snyder.
During an interview with Collider, Junkie XL reiterated some words of wisdom that Snyder had told him recently. The director mentioned that that many of pop culture’s most famous fictional heroes, be they DC characters, Marvel characters or even literary characters like Tarzan and Peter Pan, are bigger than the creative talent that have worked on them over the decades. The most famous of the superheroes, such as Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, will likely still be around 100-200 years from now, making them cultural forces to be reckoned with. Continued Junkie XL:
So you know when you were work on Man of Steel, in 10 years somebody is going to do the music for Man of Steel, and a different director is going to be doing Man of Steel. That’s the reality. So all you can do is to give it not only your best, but your vision on what this character is, when you become one with that character.
Although Zimmer is the main composer for the film, he recruited Junkie XL to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice last year to compose the music for Ben Affleck’s Batman. This was because Zimmer had already done the score for all the Christopher Nolan Batman films, so he wanted a fresh perspective on the DCCU version of the character. This will be Junkie XL’s third DC theatrical film, previously composing additional music for The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel.
At the rate that superheroes are being rebooted (there’s a new version of Spider-Man coming only two years after The Amazing Spider-Man 2), it’s not unreasonable to assume that fans could get a new version of the most famous characters at least every decade. Nevertheless, Snyder’s advice is spot-on. Rather than try to base the Dark Knight Trilogy scores on what Danny Elfman and Elliot Goldenthal produced for the previous Batman movies, Zimmer came up with his own unique sound that not only worked for the character, but left represented Zimmer’s vision of the Caped Crusader.
The same goes for him not making the Man of Steel music sound like what John Williams created. Junkie XL needs to make sure that the music he creates for Batman -- and any other part of the movie -- reflects how he feels about this material, and that it will be remembered even when a new version of the character comes along. Considering the man’s diverse resume, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be released in theaters on March 25, 2016.