‘The Batman’: Michael Giacchino on the “Total Freedom” of Writing the Score

     March 20, 2020

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When it comes to iconic film franchises, Batman is unique in the sense that there’s not really one musical theme that defines the character. Sure, there are plenty of cues that immediately conjure the caped crusader to mind, but from Neil Hefi‘s groovy TV theme to Danny ElfmanHans Zimmer, and all the animated adventures in between, Batman’s sound has evolved with each new incarnation. The next composer to take the mantle is Michael Giacchino, who’s re-teaming with director Matt Reeves after their work on Let Me In and the last two Planet of the Apes films for The Batman.

With Hollywood essentially being shut down amidst the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we just launched Collider Connected, a new live format interview series designed to keep movie fans connected with their favorite filmmakers, and our first guest was none other than Giacchino. He stopped by to talk about his newly released short Monster Challenge with Collider’s Adam Chitwood, and during the wide-ranging conversation, Giacchino spoke a bit about working with Reeves on The Batman and creating their own new take on the iconic character.

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Image via Collider

And Giacchino is no stranger to the subject considering his work on franchise tentpoles like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Jurassic World, but much as the composer said he felt on those former projects, Giacchino spoke highly of the freedom he felt working with Reeves to create a new version of The Batman.

He explained,

“I felt total freedom to do whatever I want. Matt always agreed, this is our Batman, this is our vision. In the same way that I always loved, what I still do about Batman comics and graphic novels is that each of these artist, each of these authors they take their own crack at what they want this to be. It’s their version of Batman.

 

I love it when I see a graphic novel of Batman in the 1800s. To me that is cool. I love that. I’m not the kind of person that says Batman must always be this. It’s like no, why? It can be whatever the artist wants to be and it has over the years done that, many times over. I love the idea of taking something and just kind of doing our version of it.”

While Giacchino was tight-lipped about what exactly that new version might be like — “I think the only thing I’d be allowed to say is, watch the teaser,” he said with a laugh, “and then make your own decision on this” — he likened it to that feeling when you pick up a new and unexpected comic book run.

“I do love it. I think what he’s doing is really cool, and it’s different and it feels fresh. In the way that I get excited when I see a new graphic novel or a comic book coming out with a new take on it. It feels like that.”

the-batmanAs for that snippet you heard in the teaser, Giacchino revealed he wrote that theme quite some time ago, which gave them the unique opportunity to use it in the promo materials (something that’s often out of the question since the music isn’t usually written until much later in the pre-production process. “This was a great opportunity to, from the get go, say, ‘Nope, this is our Batman,'” Giacchino said,  “‘Like it or not, this is what we’re doing.'”

Giacchino recalled the origin of the new theme,

“Matt and I talked about this for a long time, obviously and last year, after reading the script I remember sitting down and going ‘Oh, I have an idea, I have an idea,’ and I wrote that piece that is in the teaser trailer. And Matt has had that. It was just a demo version of it, it wasn’t even done with the orchestra or anything, so then he had been using that in every single one of his presentations at Warner Bros. He would put it behind and be like, ‘Alright, here are the costumes,’ and you hear the thing, ‘Here’s the music,’ and you hear the thing. So when it came time to release the [teaser], he was just like, ‘Well, we have to put it with the music.'”

He also revealed that they’ve got more pre-recorded music in the can, with the intention of continuing to roll it out once the production and promotion schedule returns to normal.

“Matt and I love it, we watch it, we have a lot of fun with it, which makes us feel like kids again. I did go over and record that for that. We recorded a bunch of other music as well for it, a bunch of themes and things that nobody has heard yet. But they’ll all be popping up as the film gets underway again and starts getting back to production, and life gets back to normal, hopefully soon.”

Finally, Giacchino expressed how excited he is to see Robert Pattinson take over the cape and cowl as Batman. “Robert Pattinson is just a fantastic actor and I’m thrilled to see him in it, he said. “I feel like that is such a crazy great choice for Batman and people will realize that once they see it.”

For more on The Batman, check out the first reveal of the Batmobile and stay tuned for more from our Collider Connected chats!

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