It’s been a full two weeks since “Interstellar” opened, and so far, Christopher Nolan’s space epic hasn’t quite proven to be the surefire hit many were expecting. It might not be a solid Best Picture contender in this year’s Oscars. It opened second at the box office, underperforming below another new release, “Big Hero 6,” by about $9 million, marking Nolan’s worst opening since “The Prestige” in 2006. And to top it off, reviews have been mixed.
Still, say what you will about the film, “Interstellar” is a Nolan production, and that means big — big budget, big action, big collaborations, and big ideas. And when we say big ideas, we mean it. Nolan took a couple very interesting approaches to the film’s score this go-around.
First, the director changed things up with how and when he worked with film score king Hans Zimmer. As you can read in the “Interstellar” Score Digital Booklet (via Reddit), Nolan brought Zimmer on board before he’d begun working on the film himself.
“Adding music to a film doesn’t work for me – it’s the reason I can’t temp a movie (edit using some other movie’s music to be replaced later). To me the music has to be a fundamental ingredient, not a condiment to be sprinkled on the finished meal,” he wrote. “To this end, I called Hans before I’d even started work on ‘Interstellar’ and proposed a radical new approach to our collaboration. I asked him to give me one day of his time. I’d give him an envelope with one page – a page explaining the fable at the heart of my next project. The page would contain no information as to genre or specifics of plot, merely lay out the heart of my movie-to-be. Hans would open the envelope, read it, start writing and at the end of the day he’d play me whatever he’d accomplished. That would be the basis of our score.”
However, fans of the film that rushed from the theater on opening week to iTunes to buy the film’s soundtrack were left wondering where the hell it was. It turns out, Zimmer intentionally held back the release. “[W]e wanted people to really hear it for the first time with the movie on really big speakers in a theater,” he told Huffington Post. “I just didn’t want people to go and hear everything on tiny little speakers on their Mac or something like this. I wanted them to go and have the visceral experience of being pinned in their seats.”
Meanwhile, if you’re curious about the sound effects in the movie (part of the unique sound mix that Nolan has defended), this Soundworks Collection featurette (via Cinetropolis) digs into how the audio design of the movie was created and captured. Check it all out below.