Of Course Mortal Kombat’s Director Used The Franchise’s Iconic Music To Recruit The Cast

Simon McQuoid and Lewis Tan on the set of Mortal Kombat

The Mortal Kombat franchise may be best known for three defining aspects: ultra violence, fatalities and one of the most iconic soundtracks of all time. When director Simon McQuoid was first recruiting the cast for the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot, he actually used the franchise's music to convey the vision he had for the film, and that ultimately convinced lead Lewis Tan to join the project.

During my visit to the Mortal Kombat set in 2019, Simon McQuoid revealed that he had an idea of doing a modern variation of the original Mortal Kombat theme before shooting began. When he met with composer Benjamin Wallfisch, who worked on Blade Runner 2049 and The Invisible Man, the director was surprised to find that Wallfisch had the same idea and actually brought a demo tape with a modern reworking of the famed theme to the meeting, which McQuoid fell in love with. In the director's own words:

When he played me this, I literally had sweat on my forehead. It was incredible. When I started talking to prospective actors, it made my life so much easier. I could talk less, I didn’t have to pitch as hard. I could just play this bit of music and they would know the exact kind of movie we are making.

During the set visit, Simon McQuoid played visitors the demo in question alongside a slide show of some of the talent who had been attached, including Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade. It turns out the director used the same demo tune to sign on the lead of Mortal Kombat, Lewis Tan. When Tan was asked what exactly made him commit to the project, he said:

Truthfully it was hearing the score. Simon sold me on that. That gave me an idea of where he was going to take this and how tastefully it was going to be done.

Lewis Tan signing on based on the music alone just goes to show how powerful that tune is. Fans were teased with a slower, more modern version of the iconic theme at the end of the latest trailer. It’s hard to say if we will see the original tune crop up in a more recognizable way in the movie itself, but I wouldn’t be surprised considering how important the campy aspects of the franchise are.

The original Mortal Kombat theme song was created for the 1995 film. Titled "Techno Syndrome," composed by Oliver Adams and performed by The Immortals, the iconic electronic song helped skyrocket the Mortal Kombat soundtrack to over one million unit sales, ultimately reaching number 10 on the Billboard 200.

While some aren’t sold on the more serious approach that this Mortal Kombat has appeared to have taken, fans can rest assured that the franchise’s signature, and often over-the-top fatalities will be extremely important in the film.

It’s nice to see that the cast and crew were inspired by such a key component of the original films, while trying to put their own, modern spin on it. I, for one, am hyped. I mean, Sub-Zero stabbed his arch enemy, Scorpion, with his own frozen blood in the trailer. What’s more Mortal Kombat than that?

We won’t know for sure how prominently the iconic theme will be featured in the film until it’s released on HBO Max (opens in new tab) and in theaters on April 16, but until then, fans can stay up to date on the movies heading to the big and small screens with CinemaBlend’s 2021 Release Schedule.

Braden Roberts

Into tracksuits by Paulie Walnuts, the Criterion Channel and Robert Eggers.