Danny Elfman Discusses Scoring Batman (1989)


Danny Elfman, the singer for the band Oingo Boingo (most known for the song “Weird Science”) and Composer for many of Tim Burton’s best films, including Batman and Batman Returns sat down with Empire to discuss his opinion on working on the first film, from how different comic book films were back then to how he was almost not the Composer.

Scoring Batman was my great test of fire. It was rough. In fact, there was a point where I actually had to drop out of the film and come back, while they were working things out. It was only my tenth film and all I’d done to that point was comedies, so I had less experience than anybody should have in that situation and neither the producer, Jon Peters, nor the studio wanted me. The only comment anyone would make at the beginning was that they didn’t want me, they wanted John Williams.

I really had to fight to win everybody over, but I still approached it very aggressively. On my third presentation to Peters, Tim Burton got very excited and kept saying, ‘Play the march! Play the march!’, so I played the piece of music that ended up becoming the Batman theme. Suddenly, Peters leapt out of his chair and started conducting. After months of trying, I finally had him! He went from being totally adversarial to very supportive and from then on he was a great ally for me.

Read the full interview head over to Empire.

Danny Elfman’s scores for Batman and Batman Returns, listen below:

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