Hans Zimmer Talks Working with Tony Scott on DAYS OF THUNDER and TRUE ROMANCE; “If the Equipment Didn’t Start Burning, We Weren’t Doing It Right”

     October 16, 2013


Though composer Hans Zimmer currently counts filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Ron Howard as his frequent collaborators, he has worked multiple times with a number of different directors over the years.  One such filmmaker is the late Tony Scott, with whom Zimmer collaborated on a total of four films, including Days of Thunder and True Romance.  Steve recently sat down with Zimmer for an extended interview in the composer’s studio, and during the course of their conversation Zimmer talked a bit about his working relationship with Scott on Days of Thunder and True Romance, reminiscing about how he came to be hired onto Days of Thunder and how Scott blew the entire music budget for True Romance on principal photography.  Hit the jump to read on.

hans-zimmer-days-of-thunderSpeaking with Steve, Zimmer remembered that Scott had a specific creed for their work together:

“Everything had to be dangerous.  If it wasn’t dangerous, if it wasn’t on the edge, if the equipment didn’t start burning, we weren’t doing it right.  If people weren’t outraged by what we were doing, we weren’t doing it right.  If somebody had done it before, it was boring.  So he was pushing the envelope all the time.”

Zimmer shared the story of how he found himself working on Days of Thunder, which was in the midst of a troubled shoot when the composer flew down for a meeting about possibly crafting the score:

“It was down in Daytona, he said would I come down and meet the producers—Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer—I went down there with a t-shirt on, we decided to have this meeting and they basically went ‘Well we’re so behind schedule if you leave now we’ll never get it done.  We’ll build you a studio.’  So suddenly I’m stuck in Daytona with one t-shirt but they’re building me this beautiful studio in this warehouse.  The one day trip turned into three months.”

tony-scott-days-of-thunderThe composer added this nugget about working with Scott on the racing pic:

“It was complete insanity, but again because it was Tony he’d just keep it recklessly fun.”

As for True Romance, Zimmer found himself backed into a corner when Scott had used up the music budget during production:

“Here’s a typical Tony thing: When he first came to me to do True Romance, he had a proper music budget.  It was gonna be the normal thing, we were gonna have an orchestra, whatever you do, you know.  And then he went off to shoot the movie, then he came back and he said, ‘Look, I’m really sorry but I spent all the money.  I have money left for nine musicians.’  And I was really pissed off at him—our relationship was always like this; he’d promise you you can have the whole orchestra then he’d spend the money on visual effects.”

true-romanceSo how did the finished True Romance score come to be?  Zimmer had a bit of inspiration from his childhood:

“All I remember was as a kid being in Germany in music class where we had these xylophones and marimbas and etc. and it was just a horrible noise, but it was a sort of innocent noise… And I thought, ‘Okay so Tony, you took away all the money, all you’re gonna get is these marimbas and little kids playing it.’  But there was a great juxtaposition as well between the violence and this really innocent music, and I thought it went really well with the characters… Part of it was design, part of it was just again Tony pushing the envelope and going, ‘It’s not strange enough!’  He used to say that all the time to me.”

Watch the portion of the Zimmer video interview about Tony Scott below, which includes more of the composer thoughts on his working relationship with the filmmaker.  Look for Steve’s full interview on Collider soon.

  • If you missed what Zimmer had to say about his work on The Amazing Spider-Man 2click here.
  • If you missed what Zimmer had to say about returning for the Man of Steel sequel and Ben Affleck as Batman, click here.
  • If you missed what Zimmer had to say about Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar score and the influence of The Dark Knight Trilogy on blockbuster filmmaking, click here.


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