Why Interstellar’s Organ Needs to Be So Loud

Hans Zimmer’s score drowns out dialogue and has already broken an Imax theater, but there’s thematic significance in all that noise.

Interstellar Anne Hathaway

BRAAAM. Razor blades against piano keys. “Rrrmph Emphrhgh Drhtghfml”! Over the course of five films, Christopher Nolan’s collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer has produced some of the most iconic sounds and incomprehensible characters in the action movie lexicon, for better or for worse. Their teamwork has made cinema a more visceral action experience; it has also routinely split moviegoers’ eardrums.

That’s the case with the score of Interstellar, which, not even one week out in theaters, has already proved divisive. An opening-week survey shows that worldwide viewers are complaining the volume drowns out the dialogue. In San Francisco, there are reports that the movie broke an Imax theater. And while many of these problems had to do with the thruster-infused sound effects, Zimmer’s organ has been routinely blamed.

Yet there’s a method behind the deafening volume of the Interstellar organ, which should not be dismissed as another instance of Zimmer contriving a grating action-movie sound, or Christopher Nolan failing another movie with poor sound design. In this case, the booming collaboration makes total sense. In the context of a movie that embraces the idea that emotions and feeling are the most important dimensions of human experience, the overwhelming nature of the score is all part of the way Interstellar works as a cohesive whole.

The Atlantic | Read the Full Article

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There wasn’t a movie when Christopher Nolan asked the composer Hans Zimmer to compose the music for Interstellar. Before Nolan could direct his space-time odyssey, he had to hear it. More than that: He had to understand his lines, the dialogue his invisible proxy would bellow as Matthew McConaughey confronted mortality at the farthest reaches of the known universe. Though perceptive audiences have often wondered which Nolan characters are the director’s obvious proxies, it’s Zimmer’s commanding scores that speak his voice, show his hand, and make his case. Interstellar needed a beating heart, and Nolan provoked one out of his musical collaborator.

More than a year before filming, Nolan sent Zimmer a letter. Inside was a typewritten note, a melancholy fable about a father and his son. Nolan’s request: Spend 24 hours reacting to the story with music. “I have a son, so Chris knew how to push the right buttons,” Zimmer says of the mysterious preproduction experiment. Zimmer wrote what he describes as “an intimate, musical love letter to my son.” He finished around nine o’clock and rang his director to see if he could send over the composition. Nolan declined. He preferred to drive over and hear it in person.

“He sat on my couch and I played him the piece,” Zimmer says. “He paused for a second and said, ‘I better make the movie now.’”

Grantland | Read the Full Article

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