Batman Begins: According to The Hollywood Reporter, James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, two of the film industry's most prominent composers, are in discussions to collaborate on Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader.
While it is not uncommon for multiple composers to write the score for a movie, those efforts are not typically collaborative. In this case, longtime friends Zimmer and Howard are looking to join forces on the Warner Bros. project.
A spokeswoman for Howard confirmed that the co-composing plan for "Batman" is "very likely to happen" but that exact plans will be formalized "closer toward January," with scoring set to begin "in April or May." A spokesman for Zimmer would not comment on the possibility of the collaboration, saying only that "Batman" is a sensitive project and the composers' "schedules are hectic." "Batman," directed by Christopher Nolan, is scheduled to be released domestically June 17.
The composers previously discussed joining forces on the Johnny Depp thriller Secret Window, but those plans fell apart.
"It's unusual for two such high-profile composers to join efforts," Film Score Monthly editor Jeff Bond said. "I can't think of another movie that has two composers of that stature writing together. But (Howard and Zimmer) have been looking for something to do together for some time."
Bond cited 1954's The Egyptian, which was co-composed by Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann, as one of the few major precedents. "Each (composer) wrote about half of the cues, working on his own," Bond said. "(In an earlier era), it used to be common to have teams of composers, but the score was credited to the head of music at the studio."
However, with the decline of music departments at the studios, he said that Media Ventures -- Zimmer's privately owned Santa Monica-based music studio, which has housed composers ranging from Trevor Rabin, Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, Trevor Jones, Klaus Badelt and Trevor Horn, among others -- has become a centralized hub for studios looking for composers.
"What's interesting is that Hans Zimmer has sort of become that traditional head of music at the studio," Bond said. "He's head of his own music studio, and he applies that working methodology to his own composing projects."
Zimmer recently completed the score on DreamWorks' Shark Tale. He is working on James L. Brooks' Spanglish and has Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven up next. Howard recently completed Michael Mann's Collateral and is going on to Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter.