The long-awaited Justice League has finally hit theatres but during its production, a lot of shakeups happened. The final product in theatres was created by many creative leads on different fronts. While the obvious changeup is that Joss Whedon took over post-production duties on the film after Zack Snyder stepped down in May due to personal reasons, there was also a change of composers.
With Whedon on board, he decided to call up an old friend, Danny Elfman, who would help compose the film, which meant that original composer Junkie XL was fired.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Elfman discussed how he got the gig:
“I got the call from Joss very last second. I got the call and it was, ‘You have to decide now and then go to work tomorrow.’”
Elfman recounted how much of the film was being shot as he scored the picture, which meant that he sometimes wouldn’t even be composing to the actual footage:
“I had a lot of storyboards in place of action. There would be full scenes and then a five-minute sequence of storyboards. Honestly, it was like working on an animated film. I didn’t score any of the unused footage, the movie that came out is the movie I scored, it was just in very rough form.”
Whedon only had a few requests for Elfman’s score, which included him bringing back his 1989 Batman score, as well as bringing back John William’s classic Superman theme:
“I twisted it and my Batman theme… the DNA is there, but the themes aren’t necessarily obvious in the film. Except for one specific moment in the final battle. Joss said, ‘Let’s do it [Batman’s theme] on the nose. Fans love this kind of stuff.’ “
Regarding Elfman bringing back the classic Batman and Superman themes, the composer discussed how he’s annoyed that many franchises don’t reuse the same classic themes:
“The whole concept that every time a superhero franchise is rebooted with a new director, then you have to start the music from scratch is a bullshit idea. It’s only for the ego of the director or the composer. They need to learn the incredible lesson that Star Wars and James Bond have known for ages, which is that keeping these musical connections alive is incredibly satisfying for the people who see those films.”
Elfman, who scored the first two Spider-Man films, used that franchise as an example to hone in his point:
“There’s like four different Spider-Man themes at this point, and as a result, he doesn’t have a recognizable sound. I told the guys at DC, you have a great musical heritage that you should be proud of and you should keep it alive. And they agreed with me, which is refreshing,”
One of the most interesting themes from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was Wonder Woman’s theme with it’s loud, bold electric guitars. Elfman reused that theme for Justice League, but decided to put his own spin on it:
“I use the Wonder Woman’s theme twice. The first time you see her, it’s a really heroic moment, but having heavy electric guitars or that effects-heavy sound would’ve made it feel campy or funny,” he says. “It’s a great melody and I was able to find a way to make it feel grand, which is what that moment needed.Now, when she’s running the second time and bouncing bullets off her bracelets, I thought, ‘This can be the fun moment, and I added in guitars, although it got drowned in the mix.’”
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In Justice League, fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder with post-production duties handled by Joss Whedon. The film stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons and Jesse Eisenberg.
Justice League is currently playing in theatres.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter