Don’t worry, film nerds. The state of the Christopher Nolan/Hans Zimmer union is still strong. One of the most fruitful director-composer relationships of the last decade or so is certainly Nolan and Zimmer, with works like Interstellar and Dunkirk experimenting with the cinematic (and sonic) form to phenomenal results while Inception and the Dark Knight Trilogy straight-up influenced an entire generation of blockbuster music composition (for better or worse…). But for the first time since 2006’s The Prestige, Nolan will be working with a composer other than Zimmer on his next film, the globe-spanning spy thriller Tenet.
The prolific Zimmer actually had to choose between Nolan’s next film and a different project, and to the surprise of many, he went with the non-Nolan one. Which just so happens to be Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve. Zimmer recently worked with Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049, which he co-composed with Benjamin Wallfisch, and appearing on the new The Playlist podcast The Fourth Wall, Zimmer explains why he chose Dune over Tenet—and luckily, it has nothing to do with a rift between Zimmer and Nolan:
“Dune is one of my favorite books from my teenage years. I love Denis Villeneuve, obviously, and Joe Walker his editor, he and I did 12 Years a Slave together, we did Widows, but we really started working in 1988 for the BBC together. It kind of feels like family. And I never saw the original Dune movie, so I’m coming in in a rather fresh way, just from the book.”
Zimmer underlined how his lifelong love of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel made Dune a movie he felt like he had to do, and noted that Nolan understands. Moreover, Zimmer knows that Nolan is in terrific hands with reigning Best Original Score Oscar-winner Ludwig Göransson:
“I have to do it, and Chris understands I have to do it, and he’s gonna be just fine. Ludwig, we’re friends. But forget the friend part—he’s really good. He’s really good.”
Indeed, Göransson is coming off his Oscar win for scoring Black Panther and scores the upcoming Star Wars TV show The Mandalorian. And to be honest, as much as I adore Nolan and Zimmer’s collaborations, I think it’s good for established filmmakers to shake up their moviemaking teams every now and again—imagine Steven Spielberg collaborating with someone like cinematographer Bradford Young instead of Janusz Kaminski for a change.
So I for one can’t wait for both Zimmer’s Dune score and Göransson’s Tenet score. Listen to the full podcast interview below: