Posted in: Celebrity

Hans Zimmer On Scoring ‘Planet Earth’ — Plus, His Hero And His Best Concern


Not a day goes by that Hans Zimmer doesn’t write music. The prolific composer, who’s scored numerous movies starting from “The Lion King” to “Dunkirk,” not often, if ever, takes a break.

Certainly one of his newest musical creations is for the brand new BBC America particular referred to as “Planet Earth: A Celebration.” Alongside his frequent collaborator Jacob Shea, Zimmer composed a brand new rating for this system, and did so amid the coronavirus pandemic with a socially distant U.Okay. orchestra that includes British rapper Dave on the grand piano. 

The character documentary, which re-airs on Saturday as a part of Wonderstruck, highlights eight sequences from the Emmy-winning “Planet Earth II” and “Blue Planet II.” It additionally options new narration by Sir David Attenborough showing alongside clips of racer snakes and bottlenose dolphins and uncommon footage of the Himalayan snow leopard.

PoliFonics lately caught up with Zimmer and Shea to speak concerning the particular and in addition spoke with Zimmer about his profession and what makes him tick. 

Are you able to speak about your strategy in arranging and rearranging the scores for the brand new “Planet Earth”?

Jacob Shea: There are quite a lot of themes which might be simply wholesale and introduced over from the earlier two sequence. It was actually a possibility to relook at issues, and we had this glorious alternative to document with the BBC Orchestra.

Hans Zimmer: On this time of isolation and on this time of COVID, what makes music such an exquisite factor is all of us taking part in collectively, taking part in collectively in the identical room, taking part in collectively on the identical stage. The phrase “play” is essential, and the phrase “collectively” is admittedly essential, and in some way these items aren’t fairly doable in the mean time. To nonetheless show that we are able to make music, we can provide you an expertise. And on the identical time, we’re displaying you one thing, which is admittedly very important to grasp in the mean time, which is we’re simply a part of some ecological system that at this very second, at occasions, this virus, which in spite of everything is a part of that ecological system, has principally stopped us in our tracks. In order lovely as this factor is, you need to consider it as daunting as properly.



Zimmer and Shea recorded the brand new music with the BBC Live performance Orchestra.

With music being such a giant a part of the sequence, what do you hope the viewers takes away as they’re watching? 

Shea: Hans talked about connection at the moment, and I assumed that’s actually the underpinning of all the hassle is to make you understand that every one these creatures we’re sharing the planet with are our neighbors. And if we’re capable of make that leap and have a window into viewing their existence and to attach with that in a really basic approach. 

Zimmer: We’ve all accomplished area films. We appear to know extra about area than the tadpoles behind your home. I really like the thriller, I do know that we reside on this tiny dot in the course of a universe, which is in the course of one other universe. And we must always actually be in awe of it and we must always actually determine what our place is with it. And I believe that’s most likely what David Attenborough and the entire group has efficiently accomplished ― determine how we combine versus how we’re set aside.

Did you face any challenges all through the method?

Zimmer: Each composer will inform you it’s been enjoyable. It’s been nice. It’s been fantastic, but it surely’s a little bit bit like having an operation. You don’t fairly keep in mind the ache and every part when you’re accomplished. There are all the time moments or days, or weeks or no matter, the place you’re simply sitting there and also you haven’t had any sleep otherwise you haven’t seen anyone. And also you don’t wish to speak to your mates since you’re knocking your head in opposition to the wall, making an attempt to provide you with one thing that’s worthy of the work that was accomplished earlier than you, that’s worthy of what the filmmakers have made you and the messages David Attenborough has given you. 

A scene from



A scene from “Planet Earth: A Celebration,” for which Zimmer and Shea wrote the rating.

Hans, you’ve scored for thus many movies. What retains you motivated to maintain going, proceed iterating and problem your self?

Zimmer: It’s like any person will come alongside and so they have an concept and so they speak to you concerning the concept and also you go, “No, I’m completely not . I’m fully burned out. I want a vacation.” After which they present you one factor, or a shot, or they present you an image, and all of a sudden you’re flooded with music and ideas and concepts and it turns into an irresistible proposition that you need to go on this journey, this journey, and you need to go and determine it out. And after, you say, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I can’t do it.” Then you definately go, “However I’ve an concept.” And as quickly as you say, “I’ve an concept,” you’re caught and you need to do it. After which two weeks in, whereas in full and utter distress of the clean web page that concept retains you alive in some way. God, it beats working for a dwelling.

Zimmer has worked on music for such films as



Zimmer has labored on music for such movies as “Thelma & Louise,” “As Good As It Will get,” “Batman Begins” and “Inception,” amongst many others.

Hans, is there nonetheless a bit of music you’ve written that you simply return to and really wish to hearken to?

Zimmer: No. However I’ve been requested was it troublesome to return to this materials, and I simply should chortle as a result of the explanation I needed to do the remake of “The Lion King” was so childish, so silly and so juvenile. Within the authentic “Lion King” there’s a chord that I can’t stand. No person else cared. However I simply needed to repair it. I didn’t care about anything. I simply needed to repair this one factor. 

We talked a little bit bit concerning the inspiration. We simply misplaced one of many biggest composers, Ennio Morricone. Hans, are you able to speak about what he meant to you? 

Zimmer: My hero, my hero. The rationale I acquired into movie music. The primary film I noticed, the primary soundtrack I noticed was “As soon as Upon a Time within the West.” And I met Ennio just a few occasions. I imply, we truly turned, I wouldn’t say associates as a result of he was all the time the instructor and I used to be all the time the pupil. … He had monumental self-discipline and data. We’re all novices on the subject of writing the quantity of music that we do. After which on the identical time, there’s an attention-grabbing lesson there as properly, as a result of not all of the a whole bunch of flicks he labored on had been masterpiece films, however the music was all the time good. And I believe that’s a vital message for any composer, no matter you’re engaged on. Whether or not it’s a nature program, a drama one or some gangster [film]. Write nice music. And since now we have the key language, no person can cease us from writing nice music. The one individuals that may cease us are ourselves.

What’s the most important false impression concerning the music you create or the way it’s created? What do you assume that individuals don’t find out about what you, what you each do?

Shea: Once we’re writing the stuff, we’re performing a facsimile of an actual orchestra, type of one line at a time. I used to be a horrible pianist as a toddler and I nonetheless am horrible, however I’ve turn out to be rather a lot higher at keyboards as a result of composing for the movie has compelled me to reckon with all of the 88 keys every day. A lot of efficiency is working every single day.

Zimmer: The working every single day ― I’m glad that you simply talked about that, Jacob, as a result of I believe that’s a part of it.

Final evening I needed to get to sleep early as a result of I needed to rise up early. However no, I acquired up in the course of the evening and went downstairs. There was just a bit change on this tune I used to be writing that I knew I needed to do. After which the youngsters come out and say, “God, are you able to please be quiet? I’m making an attempt to fall asleep. I must go to highschool.”

Individuals don’t perceive that, for example, working a marathon means you need to run every single day. And when you don’t run for just a few months, I guess you may’t run a marathon. And the identical with music. You keep in coaching on a regular basis, you need to write every single day. I write every single day, even when it’s a bit of full rubbish. It’s a must to write one thing every single day to only hold that muscle going. As a result of the best concern I all the time had was I don’t know the place the music comes from. So what if any person turns off the music? What if that all of a sudden disappeared? As a result of I’m actually unemployable in another approach as a result of I don’t wish to do anything. 

“Planet Earth: A Celebration” is airing on BBC America, AMC, IFC and SundanceTV. It may also be streamed now without cost on BBCAmerica.com.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.