Early last year, composer Hans Zimmer announced he was “retired from the superhero business” after scoring Amazing Spider-Man 2, Man of Steel, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As Zimmer has now revealed, having to write music for two such vastly different Batmen is what made him realize he’d had enough of soundtracking comic book heroes.
In a new interview with Inverse, the Oscar-winning composer explained that the differences between Christian Bale’s Batman in the Dark Knight films and Ben Affleck’s Batman in BvS:DoJ made him feel like he’d “betrayed” the former’s take on the character. “It just did my brain in to have written Christian Bale as Batman, and suddenly it’s Ben Affleck,” he said. “And it felt like I was betraying everything Christian had done. So there’s a certain amount of loyalty attached to those movies, as well.”
He went on to say that he wasn’t as satisfied with Affleck’s take on the character, and that led him to become disinterested in superheroes altogether:
“I spent months trying to come up with something for Ben. The Batman that I know and the one I learned is the one that Christian did, and Ben plays it differently. And I can’t quite shake that off. For me, the Christian Bale character was always completely unresolved. It was always about that moment at the beginning of the first movie, where he sees his parents getting killed. It was basically arrested development. The Ben character is more middle-aged, he seems to be grumpy as hell but I didn’t feel the pain that I felt in Christian’s performance. And it was that pain that made [me] interested.”
Of course, any character discrepancy is as much if not more a symptom of the script Affleck was working from as it was of the actor’s portrayal. Zimmer is aware of that, and thanks to some advice from a directing pal, that’s why he’s perhaps not entirely shutting the door on comic book movies. “Ron Howard actually said something very smart to me. He said, ‘Don’t say you will never do a superhero movie again, wait for somebody to turn up with an amazing script for a superhero movie,'” Zimmer recalled. “And I suppose that’s what I’m saying: Can I please have the amazing script?”
Below, revisit our interview with Zimmer and Junkie XL about the making of the Batman v Superman soundtrack: