Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) created the musical score for Inception, making this the third collaboration with producer/director Christopher Nolan. According to Zimmer, it is a very electronic score, and famed guitarist Johnny Marr plays throughout the score. An album containing some of Zimmer's music for the film was released on Tuesday, July 13th, 3 days before the release of the film.
Hans Zimmer was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and then moved to London when he was a teenager, where he attended Hurtwood House School.
Film and Television Scoring
A turning point in Zimmer's career occurred with the 1988 film Rain Man. Hollywood director Barry Levinson was looking for someone to score Rain Man, and his wife heard the soundtrack CD of the anti-Apartheid drama A World Apart, for which Zimmer had composed the music. Levinson was impressed by Zimmer's work, and hired him to score Rain Man. In the score, Zimmer uses synthesizers (mostly a Fairlight CMI) mixed with steel drums. Zimmer explained that "It was a road movie, and road movies usually have jangly guitars or a bunch of strings. I kept thinking don't be bigger than the characters. Try to keep it contained. The Raymond character doesn't actually know where he is. The world is so different to him. He might as well be on Mars. So, why don't we just invent our own world music for a world that doesn't really exist?" Zimmer’s score for Rain Man was nominated for an Academy Award in 1989, and the film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture.
A year after Rain Man, Zimmer was asked to compose the score for Bruce Beresford's Driving Miss Daisy which, like Rain Man, won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Driving Miss Daisy’s instrumentation consisted entirely of synthesizers and samplers, played by Zimmer. According to an interview with Sound On Sound magazine in 2002, the piano sounds heard within the score come from the Roland MKS–20, a rackmount synthesizer. Zimmer joked: "It didn't sound anything like a piano, but it behaved like a piano."
1991's Thelma & Louise soundtrack by Zimmer featured the trademark slide guitar performance by Pete Haycock on the "Thunderbird" theme in the film. As a teenager, Zimmer was a fan of Haycock, and their collaboration on film scores includes K2 and Drop Zone.
For the 1992 film The Power of One, Zimmer traveled to Africa in order to use African choirs and drums in the recording of the score. On the strength of this work, Disney Animation Studios approached Zimmer to compose the score for the 1994 film The Lion King. This was to be his first score for an animated film. Zimmer said that he had wanted to go to South Africa to record parts of the soundtrack, but was unable to visit the country as he had a police record there "for doing 'subversive' movies" after his work on The Power of One. Disney studio bosses expressed fears that Zimmer would be killed if he went to South Africa, so the recording of the choirs was organized during a visit by Lebo M. Zimmer won numerous awards for his work on The Lion King, including an Academy Award for Best Music (Original Score), a Golden Globe, and two Grammys. In 1997, the score was adapted into a Broadway musical version which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1998.
Zimmer's score for Crimson Tide (1995) won a Grammy Award for the main theme, which makes heavy use of synthesizers in place of traditional orchestral instruments. For The Thin Red Line (1998), Zimmer said that the director Terrence Malick wanted the music before he started filming, so he recorded six and a half hours of music. Zimmer's next project was The Prince of Egypt (1998), the first animated film produced by DreamWorks studio. He introduced Ofra Haza, an Israeli Yemenite singer, to the directors, and they thought she was so beautiful that they designed one of the characters in the film to look like her.
Hans Zimmer has won two Grammy Awards (Crimson Tide and The Dark Knight), two Golden Globes (The Lion King and Gladiator) and an Academy Award (The Lion King). He has also received 7 Academy Award Nominations and 8 Golden Globe Nominations.