“It’s a bit like my Everest, a lot of effort and a lot of emotions,” says composer Tom Holkenborg.

Thomas Holkenborg signs the soundtrack of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”, 4 hours of music and a few pieces of bravery – HollywoodNewsWire.c / NEWSCOM / SIPA – HBO MAX

  • Fan dream come true, the SnyderCut of Justice league is offered on Wednesday evening on OCS Max and on OCS on demand.
  • After leaving the project, director Zack Snyder can finally share his vision for the film, and the same goes for music composer Tom Holkenborg.
  • Former solo musician and protégé of Hans Zimmer, Tom Holkenborg has established himself as a sure bet in the blockbuster, he is interviewed in 20 minutes.

Four years after the release of Justice league in the cinema, finally the version reworked by Joss Whedon and criticized by the fans, the original director Zack Snyder was able to finish his “cut” as he wanted, with the soundtrack of Tom Holkenborg alias Junkie XL. The composer was also excluded from the project and was able to take his revenge with four hours of music and a few pieces of bravery.

Available for digital purchase and rental, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is (already) offered exclusively this Wednesday on OCS Max at 8:40 p.m. and on OCS on demand, with the black and white version as a bonus Justice is gray, Zack Snyder’s favorite. 20 minutes took the opportunity to speak with Tom Holkenborg, former protégé of Hans Zimmer and new safe bet in blockbuster music, since we also owe him Dead Pool, Mad Max: Fury Road or Godzilla vs. Kong.

This is not necessarily known, but you have collaborated for more than 10 years with composer Hans Zimmer, already on “Man of Steel” and “The Dark Knight Rises”.

I left the Netherlands for Los Angeles in 2002, and I met Hans a few years later. We got along right away, then saw each other very often. As soon as the opportunity to work with him arose, I grabbed it, even though it was a small job. Our collaboration has intensified over the years, from films: Megamind, Inception, Divergent

This is how industry works, how all circles work, isn’t it? You start at the bottom of the ladder, as an assistant, then you go up the rungs one by one, until you become the boss’s right hand, then you can spread your wings and take flight.

But did you already have a career as a musician and DJ, as Junkie XL?

This is true, and what is interesting. One day I was number 1 on the charts with the remix ofA Little Less Conversation from Elvis Presley, and the next day I was working almost for free. (laughs)

After collaborating with Hans Zimmer on “Batman V Superman”, he left you all alone on “Justice League”. Not too much pressure?

Hans made me come on Batman v superman to take care of Batman more especially, because he had already given everything for the trilogy The dark knight by Christopher Nolan. But as soon as we got together in the studio with our instruments, it started all over the place and my work wasn’t limited to Batman. Justice league then presented itself as a childhood dream, to be able to work on such a big movie, all alone, with all the superheroes of my childhood. We worked a lot with Zack Snyder in 2017, put together a lot of music, and then Zack left.

How did you experience your replacement by another composer, Danny Elfman, for the theatrical version of the film?

When a director leaves a project, it almost automatically means the composer leaves too, as a new team arrives to finish the film. It’s hard but that’s how it is. I never saw the version of Joss Whedon with the music of Danny Elfman, I didn’t see the point. Why ? To hurt me? When it was possible to finish our film with the SnyderCut, I was glad I didn’t see it, because I could have been influenced. What a relief.

Even though I had our 2017 job in a corner, I chatted with Zack to start from scratch, to make a clean sweep. That I can give the best of myself, there, now. Justice league is a bit like my Everest: an enormous work, a lot of music, composed and recorded at home, in the middle of a pandemic. The project is therefore unique in many aspects.

Wasn’t it heartbreaking to throw your first job in the trash?

It was actually quite easy. While I take my job very seriously, I don’t personally take myself seriously. I’m not the kind of musician who once a piece of music is finished considers it to be his masterpiece or whatever. You must be able to do another masterpiece the next day. I work on each project with all my energy, all my passion.

And once it’s over, I can just say, “ok, that’s the max I can give”. But maybe the next day I would have been even better. Impossible to know. So I don’t hang on to the past. This is what happened on Justice league, four years separate the movie theater from the SnyderCut. Why would I have used old compositions? While I have evolved as a musician, that I have learned a lot, that I can do better.

“Justice League” introduces new characters and themes like Cyborg and Flash, but also revisits those of Superman and Wonder Woman. How did you do ?

The themes of Superman and Wonder Woman are now known to the public, it made sense to reuse them, because we are in the same universe, the same series of films. Although I approached Wonder Woman in a more organic, more tribal way, in the straight line of the Amazons. But for Batman for example, this film is like a new day for him. He was that tortured character in Batman v superman, haunted by the death of his parents.

However, in Justice league, he is a new man, the leader who brings together the Justice League. It was essential that his musical theme was different. The same goes for the new kids Cyborg and Flash, or Aquaman whose backstory is sketched. There was room for new music, new explorations.

One of the film’s most important and moving moments, “At the Speed ​​of Force” with Flash, owes a lot to your music. Are these the kind of things you can smell?

There are indeed scenes which I approached differently, and it is not necessary to believe, about which I discussed a lot with Zack. This is the case for Cyborg and Flash whose stories are important. It was necessary to approach them with a lot of heart, to pay tribute to the emotional quality of these characters. That the fans totally buy into these moments and my music is the greatest reward.

Can we say that your “Justice League” score seeks to bring together the best of both worlds, the best of orchestral music and the best of electro music?

It is indeed the area that I like to explore the most, in which I am the most comfortable. “Artificial” music and “natural” music, and everything in between. Justice league is a very special score for me, because I have been able to venture into the places, the periods, which excite and fascinate me, from the classic pieces of the beginning of the 19th century to the first Hollywood scores of the 1930s and 1940s. by 1980s rock. I went there looking for some unique elements to use for the movie. Only such a long film, of 4 hours, allows such an exploration, such a mixing.

How was your collaboration with Zack Snyder throughout this unique project, dead then resuscitated?

All I can tell you, without going too far behind the scenes, is that I have always been very close to Zack, that I admire him as much as an artist as an individual. We have made no less than six films together, from 300: Birth of an Empire, where he was a producer, at Justice league and soon Army of the Dead. He’s a fantastic director, full of energy, and a great person to be around.

How is Zack Snyder different from another visual and visionary filmmaker like George Miller, for whom you wrote “Mad Max: Fury Road”?

I’ve worked with a lot of different directors you know, and that’s what makes my job in the Hollywood industry so exciting. Each filmmaker has their own point of view, their own idea of ​​what is and what is not important to them. Tim Miller (Dead Pool), Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron (Battle Angel Alita), Peter jackson (Mortal Engines), George Miller, Zack Snyder… They all taught me things.

At one time you still worked on both your solo albums and the soundtracks, but now you seem to be 100% dedicated to film. Why ?

I started music as an engineer, a producer and then an artist. But when I arrived in Los Angeles, I felt drawn, not to say sucked, by cinema and film music. I felt less the need to be “an artist”, to release my albums. It was a natural process, without questioning. Today, I completely embrace this career, this environment, this energy. I still compose for myself, of course, but without the idea of ​​sharing it, except in a very small circle. And that suits me very well.

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