After the tragic loss of Heath Ledger, due â€“ surely â€“ in part to his apparently mind-blowing role in the upcoming movie, The Dark Knight, the film’s composer Hans Zimmer almost scrapped the theme he had written for Ledgerâ€™s character, the Joker.
The composer told Parade that he had considered redoing the The Joker theme completely, but ultimately felt the original theme better honored Ledger’s performance.
“It was so inconceivable, you know, when we heard about this. Actually, I for a moment was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I should throw out all the music I’ve written for the Joker and just start over again.‘ Which is just exactly the wrong thing to do. And I mean, I can never find a better word for it but to honor his performance, I had to stick to my guns. The music has to portray the philosophy of anarchy that the Joker displays in the face of Batman’s valor. I couldn’t soften the music or compromise the evil he projects because Heath really did give such a tremendous performance. If I had taken my eye off the ball, if I had been sentimental, if I had done anything like that, it would really have not served him.”
Zimmerâ€™s co-composer, James Newton Howard, agreed with Zimmerâ€™s sentiment (once again from Parade):
“I agree with that. And I think ultimately his performance is so electrifying in the movie that if he has the ability to look down upon any of this, I think he would be certainly pleased that his character was honored by, certainly on our end, by writing the music that is most appropriate to that performance.”
I think comments like these can often be seen as trite, when weighing up a manâ€™s life and untimely end against, for example, a music score. But for these two men, who have between them racked up movie titles such as Gladiator, My Best Friendâ€™s Wedding, The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manâ€™s Chest, this is their life. This is what they dedicate their time too, and when they feel that they are doing some small part in honoring the name of someone whose work will be influenced by theirs, I think that is not a small thing.