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Hans Zimmer Reveals Why He’s Not Returning to Score ‘Gladiator 2’

Hans Zimmer has been behind some of the most iconic scores in film history — “The Lion King,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight” — but he won’t be revisiting one of his most beloved scores for an upcoming sequel. The composer opted not to return for Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator 2,” which instead will be scored by Harry Gregson Williams, and says the decision was made after a particularly challenging experience on Disney’s “Lion King” remake.

“It’s really very simple. I’ve done that world. And I think I did it well,” Zimmer told Curzon. “And all I’d do is set myself up for either trying to repeat myself, which I don’t want to do, or getting slaughtered by critics who say you didn’t do it as well as you did the first time. We have a gladiator fight in ‘Dune: Part Two,’ right? We have a gladiator fight in ‘Gladiator’ obviously, but they couldn’t be more different!”

The composer, fresh off a stirring score for the “Dune” sequel, said he wasn’t keen on getting compared to one of his most iconic scores.

“I liked the idea of moving on and not getting compared to my own work. One way or the other I’d had enough of that, doing three Batman movies or four Pirates [of the Caribbean] movies or four Kung Fu Panda movies,” he continued. “And ‘Gladiator’ takes a special place in my heart. I think it’s completely undisciplined. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had written the most amazing score, because the music in the first movie sticks in people’s hearts.”

Zimmer said that he tried to reimagine one of his most beloved scores for 2019’s “The Lion King” but it ended up not working, so he was forced to essentially do what he did for the 1994 film all over again.

“I had that experience doing the live[-action] version of ‘The Lion King.’ I tried to step out of my own vocabulary. Every time I did, it just didn’t work. So all I could do was repeat myself. You owe it to yourself, and to the audience, to try to do new things.”

The composer noted that Williams started out as his assistant and he’s a “phenomenal” composer. “Harry and I have spoken about it. He feels the old score barking at his. Heels a bit. So he’s on his A game.”

“Gladiator 2” finds Scott returning to direct a follow-up to his Best Picture-winning 2000 film, with Paul Mescal playing the grown up version of Lucius. The starry ensemble also includes Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal and Joseph Quinn, with Connie Nielsen reprising her role as Lucilla, Lucius’ mother, from the first film. The “Gladiator” sequel will be released by Paramount Pictures in the U.S. on Nov. 22.

The first “Gladiator” won five Oscars including Best Picture, but Zimmer lost Best Original Score to Tan Dun for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

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