Watch Tim Burton and Danny Elfman Talk 'Batman' Score - Rolling Stone
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Watch Tim Burton and Danny Elfman Talk ‘Batman’ Score

Filmmaker and composer discuss creation of superhero-movie soundtrack in between clips of Lincoln Center performance

Earlier this year, New York City’s Lincoln Center held a concert titled Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton, which highlighted suites of the fantastical scores that the composer has created for the imaginative director. One of their best-known collaborations remains the brassy, triumphant main theme in Batman, which the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York performs in the above video, a clip from PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center, which will air Friday. Close-ups of Burton’s sketches for the movie’s characters flash in the background.

Prior to the score excerpt in the clip, though, Burton and Elfman discuss a scene in Batman Returns. “You were obviously having fun with these characters and I was allowed to have fun,” Elfman says. “I felt really silly, like, I’m scoring the end – the Penguin’s death – and I was playing it for my wife at the time and I’m getting all…” He pantomimes crying. “There are guys in penguin suits dragging the guy down to the water, and I’m getting teary-eyed.” Burton rejoins, “The studio is getting teary-eyed for other reasons.”

The hard work on the scores paid off, and Elfman won a Grammy for his original Batman score. In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, though, the composer said he tried not to let things like that go to his head. “Awards don’t mean much to me,” he said. “It’s an honor, I’m flattered, but I have a life-long attitude of never take any award seriously. If you start believe that, you’ll start trying to get one.”

In This Article: Batman, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton


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