For Sherlock Holmes, he didn't do a traditional big Hollywood score, and director Guy Richie encouraged him. Instead, Zimmer went back to his German roots, channeling Kurt Weill's music to dramatist Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. He wrote the music he imagined to be in Sherlock Holmes' head and worked closely with actor Robert Downey Jr. to understand the character's anatomy. "Holmes has adventures in his head," Zimmer says. "He's a manic-depressive genius. I wanted the music to reflect that."
He also used a number of soloists, which he says he cast as if they were actors—finding the right sensibility and musical interpretation to enhance the atmosphere of Richie's vision of London.
Zimmer, whose credits include The Lion King, Gladiator and Dark Knight, has won an Oscar®, two Golden Globes® and three Grammys® for his extraordinary work. He started his career producing and playing with pop and rock bands including the Buggles, whose "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video to air on MTV.
Yet, he does not take his success for granted. He is quick to point out that he never went to music school. He believes if he, who came to the United States from Germany via the United Kingdom, can find his voice, anyone with a passion can.
Music saved him, both as a child as an adult. Growing up, his mother believed more in piano than in television. He found his voice on those black-and-white keys. And on the days when he feels unsure, as all humans do, he can pick up the phone and call a fellow musician. "I am part of a larger community; we support each other. I am never alone. Music has the ability to change people and inspire. It knows no racism."
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