Zack Snyder Confirms MAN OF STEEL Won’t Use John Williams’ Music; Says Film Asks ‘What Would You Do if You Were Superman?’

by     Posted 2 years, 72 days ago

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Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel has been a giant question mark for fans for quite some time.  We finally got our look at the first footage from the film at Comic-Con, and the general public was treated to a significantly truncated version of that footage by way of the film’s first teaser trailer.  Noticeably absent were Snyder’s trademark slow motion and stylized camera movements, instead replaced by a grittiness and real world grounding reminiscent of one Christopher Nolan (which isn’t exactly a surprise given that Nolan is Man of Steel’s producer).

Though Snyder and star Henry Cavill took part in the Man of Steel Comic-Con panel, the director didn’t really talk much about his approach to the character at the time.  Snyder has now spoken up a bit about his Superman in Man of Steel and why acknowledging John Williams’ classic score from the previous films wasn’t an option.  Hit the jump for more.

zack-snyder-man-of-steelAt Comic-Con, the closest Snyder came to saying something of substance about the film was when he explained that they wanted to get away from Superman being “a big blue boy scout” and instead wanted to see him beat the snot out of people.  Speaking with Total Film magazine (via The Geek Files and CBM), Snyder elaborate on this point:

“The big challenge is if you can make people feel ‘What would you do if you were Superman?’ That’s what we went out to do as far as we could. Superman’s always been this kind of big blue boy-scout up on a throne that nobody can really touch, so we tried to make him relatable.”

Speaking more about his approach to the character, Snyder said they wanted to start from scratch:

“We decided to act as if no Superman film had been made – even though we love the films that have been made… Superman is a big responsibility but I felt he needed to be reintroduced to a generation and I thought this was a great opportunity.”

man of steel poster comic conBryan Singer and composer John Ottoman famously incorporated John Williams’ theme from the classic Superman films into Superman Returns, but the 2006 pic was essentially a sequel to Superman II and not a reboot of the character.  In pretending like no other Superman films have been made before, it makes sense that Snyder and composer Hans Zimmer would need to move away from Williams’ work:

“We had to say this is a Superman movie for the first time and you can’t then go ‘Oh, now let’s steal a little music’… So, yes it’s awesome music but Hans Zimmer is going to do something awesome.”

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but if you need further proof that Williams’ score doesn’t really fit with Man of Steel, check out this video where someone replaced the teaser trailer music with Williams’ Superman theme.

At Comic-Con, Snyder wouldn’t reveal any specific comics that Man of Steel draws from, but he insisted that they had “respect for the mythology.”  He reiterates that comment to Total Film:

“We have great respect for the canon. I would say it is a clashing of stories and ideas. Superman is the king-daddy of all superheroes – to make him work is a big deal.”

I was definitely impressed by the footage screened at Comic-Con and I’m sincerely hoping that Snyder has put together one hell of a Superman movie, but I’m forced to remain cautious given the director’s resume.  Doing something completely different from Donner and Singer’s films is certainly a step in the right direction, but Sucker Punch is still a thing that exists.

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  • crooner214

    Sucker Punch was awesome, and is probably the reason Snyder won this job. True, the plot took some leaps and bounds, and wasn’t the most believable, but the whole damn thing was a dream in the first place, was it not?

  • Yoej_YrneH

    Even though I love John Williams’ score, I’m glad they’re not using it! It would be like Christopher Nolan having Hans Zimmer using Danny Elfman’s classic score for his Dark Knight Trilogy. Sure, it would’ve featured “new music,” but the general public & critics all would’ve dismissed the entire score as being just “recycled” & “derivative” of its past source material. If they want to go in a completely different route, not only would using John Williams’ classic score undermine this movie’s “desire” to veer off in a completely NEW direction from before & branch off, but it WOULDN’T BE APPROPRIATE.

    I, for one, am looking forward to Hans Zimmer’s score for this film! What can’t he do?! (“Inception,” “Lion King,” “M:I-2,” etc.)

    (Ironically enough on a side note: in regards to Zack Synder’s desire NOT to recycle John Williams’ classic Superman score, then why use Howard Shore’s music from THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY? A little hypocrisy in motion on Synder’s part? Just my 2 cents complaint.)

    • milo

      For the most part, directors don’t pick out the music for trailers. And the music won’t be written for months, which is typical for most movies. The actual score isn’t done yet but they have to use something for the trailer, which is why they either use other film scores or music written specifically for trailer libraries.

  • Hugo

    If i was Superman i would give this movie to a director and crew that understands and gets what Superman is. Clearly not what this is shaping up to be, judging by trailers and pics another super hero movie, done the Nolan way, that is embarrassed of being involved in a comic book adaptation.

  • MadMatt

    Two words – Casino Royale.

    A new score for the reboot, then the iconic Monty Norman/John Barry theme plays over the final scene and end credits. Do the same with Superman; new music until he \’becomes\’ Superman, then the timeless John Williams theme that we all know and love kicks in. Problem solved.

    Also, as long as the films were as good as we know they are, I can\’t imagine that anyone would have complained about Danny Elfman\’s great Batman theme cropping up now and then in the Dark Knight trilogy. I certainly wouldn\’t have! That melody could be reworked any number of different ways to fit the tone of the new films. No one would say \"I thought these movies were amazing until a familiar selection of notes cropped up on the soundtrack.\"

    These arguments are just put forward by directors who have big egos and want to pretend like they\’re the first one to ever make a film about that character. If they\’re so hung up on newness and originality, stop remaking/rebooting things and create your own stories.

  • Konar

    You’ve got no taste and no love for originality. Sucker Punch was an awesome trip and an incredible movie. We are lucky it exists. You pathetic mainstream journalist.

  • Konar

    You\’ve got no taste and no love for originality. Sucker Punch was an awesome trip and an incredible movie. We are lucky it exists. You pathetic mainstream journalist.

  • Yoren

    I hope he can pull it off but as another poster pointed out Snyder’s only positive adjective is “awesome.” Awesome awesome awesome awesome! Expand your vocabulary Mr. Snyder! When he speaks he comes off as a college bro unlike his infinitely more talented producer Christopher Nolan who can explain and talk about his films in a more refined mature and elegant way.

  • Yoren

    I hope he can pull it off but as another poster pointed out Snyder\’s only positive adjective is \"awesome.\" Awesome awesome awesome awesome! Expand your vocabulary Mr. Snyder! When he speaks he comes off as a college bro unlike his infinitely more talented producer Christopher Nolan who can explain and talk about his films in a more refined mature and elegant way.

  • spongefist

    If its like TDKR then we have no hope… If its like Sucker Punch we have no hope…
    Shit, we have no hope.

  • Drake

    Firstly I FUCKING! HATE! THIS FACEBOOK SHITE!!!.
    Secondly, this film looks like a divisive piece of crap in the making. Personally I hate the new suit I don’t like the casting and the story form what I have read and heard seems like they do not understand what Superman is about. I hope they prove me wrong but Superman still looks like he’s going clubbing at a rave in a babies blue onsey.

  • milo

    For the most part, directors don\’t pick out the music for trailers. And the music won\’t be written for months, which is typical for most movies. The actual score isn\’t done yet but they have to use something for the trailer, which is why they either use other film scores or music written specifically for trailer libraries.

  • milo

    And “Der Aufstand der Arbeiter” sounds nothing like anything in Star Wars, just listened to it. And seriously, Vangelis? There’s a good reason nobody else sounds like him…

  • milo

    And \"Der Aufstand der Arbeiter\" sounds nothing like anything in Star Wars, just listened to it. And seriously, Vangelis? There\’s a good reason nobody else sounds like him…

  • C Cat

    I think this movie will split the aisle. You already have people saying it will suck because they grew up idolizing the Reeves Superman, the William’s music. Then you have people saying they are ready for a real Superman and not more of the same. Even if the movie is great, the former group will most likely not like it.

    I think it looks really promising. Watchmen was a great movie, and 300 was pretty cool. Suckerpunch wasn’t great, but I do give him points for the vision and weaving it into watchable story, it was an ambitious attempt. I see Superman being much more Watchmen than Nolan’s TDK, honestly. People keep harping on the “gritty, realistic” tag….but honestly, there is no other way to go. Camp or cheese, they have been done.

    The Avengers was basically gritty and realistic, save for the supernatural story lines, and people raved about it. Superman is crying out for a new direction, the story of a guy who has these godlike powers and his learning to deal with it, choosing to do good rather than evil, being different than everyone else. I think Snyder pulls it off.

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  • MadMatt

    Really tired of people throwing around terms like ‘camp’ to describe joy and playfulness, as if these qualities are things we as a society should have grown out of. Donner’s film went for the mythic approach, but was still fun. You can treat the Superman story seriously without turning it into angsty navel-gazing.

  • Newswhiz

    Man of Steel and Dark Knight Rises each get a free pass. Nolan set the tone for the “gritty” and “realistic” style of superhero films. For his Batman trilogy it worked. The style was working. . .until Avengers came out. Thor, Captain America and Iron Man were not campy or cheesy, they were “realistic” yet still acknowledged that it was based on a comic book. Combined as a team then in Avengers, we fanboys got EVERYTHING we ever wanted in a comic book movie. What other comic book film can you say has Iron Man dropping out the sky bouncing a repulsor off Cap’s shield and then flying away as a throwaway moment?? There are too many “Did they just.. or I can’t believe I jsut saw. . . ” moments in Avengers. Few, if any, such moments exist in Nolan’s Batman films. Man of Steel remains intriguing but with Avengers, the wind has shifted. We want “real” but you need to keep “comic book” in mind too. BTW, yes I’m going to go old school and say, John Williams Superman music will live forever. It made me believe a man can fly. I adored the altered trailer to Man of Steel with Brando’s voiceover and Willliam’s music. That said, I understand why they are not using it. My only hope is that they did come up with a “theme” for this SUperman. Over the past 30 years….there have been scant few composers that have truly deveoloped themese (even the Avengers didn’t get a theme)…Batman 1989 had one, Nolan’s kind of did but not really..gee…Harry Potter did…and guess who composed the original score that all subsequent films were derived? That’s right. . . Williams. The man knows how to work a film score. I relish the days that film scores will once again have meaning and be recognizable.

  • Eric Tan

    Although my interest in this new version continues to diminish with time, I am intrigued to hear and listen to Zimmer’s take on the subject matter. As to Snyder’s “what would you do if you were Superman” approach, all I can say is, if I was Superman, there wouldn’t be time for Clark Kent; otherwise, Clark would have been caught with his pants down when the first plane hit the South Tower on 9/11. A Superman who doesn’t help the world deal with its own human (non-alien, non-Kryptonian) evildoers should just go back to whatever remains of Krypton… The first Iron Man movie dealt with this by having Iron Man attack Afghan terrorists; this made him more relatable and more real. After Nolan’s Batman trilogy, keeping Superman as the world’s biggest boy scout will only make him irrelevant.

  • Sorwen

    I think people miss the fact that Williams has done the score for most of the memorable movies out there. Everything from Superman, Star Wars, and Jaws to Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. There isn’t a composer alive that has done more to actually have people feel the emotional moments through music than him.

    In a way to me it says more about the film that the music doesn’t fit. Like the how it had to be changed for the Singer travesty. It isn’t like it is some 70′s disco beat that lacks a bit of relevance. It is a score meant to evoke the heroic in the mind of the listener. I find it rather sad that doesn’t fit.

  • milo

    is really that bad being a boy scout? if that’s so, why don’t shut down that institution?

  • Brun

    Le thème de superman crée par john william est parfait pourquoi on ne le garde pas comme les james bond, les missions impossible , Indianna jones. Le theme de superman est parfait même dans la série de smallville ils l,ont pris lorsqu’on voit le grand s rouge et jaune pour la première fois et tout était parfait et on embarquer. Je crois qu’il devrait faire comme il l’ont fait dans les autres superman garder le même thême mais avoir son propre soundtract écrit et composée par le compositeur choisit

  • Brun

    Le thème de superman crée par john william est parfait pourquoi on ne le garde pas comme les james bond, les missions impossible , Indianna jones. Le theme de superman est parfait même dans la série de smallville ils l,ont pris lorsqu\’on voit le grand s rouge et jaune pour la première fois et tout était parfait et on embarquer. Je crois qu\’il devrait faire comme il l\’ont fait dans les autres superman garder le même thême mais avoir son propre soundtract écrit et composée par le compositeur choisit

  • Byron

    Glad to hear that Snyder may be laying off the slo-mo. Although I enjoyed the movie, Watchmen could have cut 20 minutes off its running time just by speeding up the fight scenes. I started gritting my teeth at the constant slow-downs particularly in the death of the Comedian. The Comedian’s fall to the pavement would have been legitimate slow-motion but the fight scene that preceded it would have been much more effective if it had been lightning-fast, and that goes for most of the other fight scenes in the movie as well. Has nothing been learned from the Bourne films? Rapid fight scenes adrenalize the audience.

  • Harold Carson

    To all my fellow Superman lovers ot there, this message is for Snyder. To leave John Williams behind TOTALLY is doing a disservice to the Superman legend. Initially when I saw the first and second trailer, I thought they were VERY GOOD. But the one question I kept hearing in my head was “Where is Superman’s music?” John Williams composed, and what I mean by this is concerning anything else he has ever composed… IS BY FAR THE BEST THEME MUSIC TO HAVE BEEN CREATED FOR A MOVIE… with STAR WARS coming in at a close second. When you hear that music, your attention is IMMEDIATELY taken toward the source of the media. I grew up on the mythos of Superman. My opinion is this: I don’t mind you changing the score…. JUST DON’T LEAVE THE ORIGINAL COMPLETELY OUT OF THE PICTURE. Possibly have it during the climax/ last fight scene of the movie where it can be greatly significant and show some of the die hard Superman fans like myself some appreciation. Snyder ultimately decides how he wants his movie to be protrayed so my words are meaningless. But at the same time, at least give respect to the TRUE Superman fans out there who agree with me, and pay homage to the legendary creative genious of John Williams, while giving the movie a old and new mixture of fans who will support the film no matter what and the ones who want to see some new things concerning the Superman legend. Thanks for reading…

  • Jon

    Next thing you know Disney will own Star Wars and replace the iconic John Williams themes with something from one of their music tv shows. Oh wait…

  • bombstal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DUiXZj1c7M John Williams is the only way. Zack Snyder’s Superman will be missing something huge.

  • Lilac Infidelus

    It’s Bizarro superman – with a small ‘s’. Bad, bad movie.

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