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Hans Zimmer Turned Down Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Because He Couldn’t Say No to ‘Dune’

The action epic "Tenet" will be the first Nolan movie not scored by Zimmer since 2006's "The Prestige."

Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan

Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan

Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock

Over the course of six films, Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer have become one of the most dominant director-composer duos in Hollywood. The two artists got their start on “Batman Begins” (2005) and have collaborated on some of the most acclaimed blockbusters of the century, from “The Dark Knight” (2008) to “Inception” (2010) and “Dunkirk” (2017), with Zimmer picking up three Oscar nominations for Best Original Score along the way. Despite their winning success, Zimmer recently had to turn Nolan down for the first time in over a decade because a passion project came calling: Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.”

In a new interview with The Playlist, Zimmer says his personal love for the “Dune” source material made it impossible not to join the 2020 Villeneuve tentpole. Both Villeneuve and Nolan are currently filming their new movies and have 2020 release dates already set, making it impossible for Zimmer to work on both.

“‘Dune’ is one of my favorite books from my teenage years,” Zimmer said. “I love Denis, obviously, and Joe Walker, his editor. We did ’12 Years A Slave’ together and ‘Widows.’ We started working together in 1988 for the BBC together. It’s nice working with family.”

Zimmer said that to create the “Dune” original score he is working solely from his love for and knowledge of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. The musician never even saw David Lynch’s infamous 1984 film adaptation and says he’s “coming at this from a sort of fresh way, just from the book.”

Christopher Nolan’s new film, the action epic “Tenet,” is being scored by Ludwig Göransson. The composer is having a tremendous year after winning the Best Original Score Oscar for his work on “Black Panther” and a couple Grammy Awards for producing Donald Glover’s anthem “This Is America.” Göransson has collaborated with Ryan Coogler on additional films such as “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.”

“I have to do [“Dune”],” Zimmer said. “Chris [Nolan] understands I have to do it. He’s going to be just fine. Ludwig and I are friends. Forget the friend part, he’s really good.”

Legendary has set a November 20, 2020 release date for “Dune.” Warner Bros. will open Nolan’s “Tenet” several months earlier on July 17, 2020.

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