You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Behind Henry Jackman’s Most Notable Scores, From ‘Captain America’ to ‘Captain Phillips’

“X-Men: First Class” (2011)
The second of Jackman’s three films with director Matthew Vaughn (the others were “Kick-Ass” and “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”), the score for “X-Men: First Class” “was kind of a breakout score for me,” Jackman recalls. “I started writing something pompous and classical, and Matthew said, ‘No, we’ve got to keep it cool.’ They were all young and needed something emergent and not overly mature. There are some pretty ballsy guitars and some breakbeats in there.”

“This Is the End” (2013) and “The Interview” (2014)
Jackman’s “dead straight classical” approach, as he puts it, to Kim Jong-un’s theme in “The Interview,” and his over-the-top choral requiem in “The End,” helped to hype the humor in both Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg films. Rogen tells Variety: “Henry has been a huge part of our directing process. He has the skill of an amazing classical composer and the sense of humor of a 12-year-old, which for us is the perfect combination. He’s taken scenes that suck and made them presentable, if not actually good.”

“Wreck-It Ralph” (2012) and “Big Hero 6” (2014)
“I did some pretty geeky research,” says Jackman of the video-game music-riot “Wreck-It Ralph.” “It was a very layered, textured film with a lot of different ideas. [With ‘Big Hero 6’] We wanted modern textures at the very beginning. These kids are designing technology and trying to get into nerd school. Bassoons aren’t the first thing that spring to mind.” Studio executive music producer Tom Macdougall cites the mythical San Francisco-meets-Tokyo setting: “What is the soundscape of that? The answer would not be a classic orchestral score. It needed to educate the audience about this location, and Henry has a gift for finding interesting textures and sounds.”

“Captain Phillips” (2013)
For Paul Greengrass’ Tom Hanks-starring thriller about an American cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, the concept was “to paint a picture in sound, but not be invasive by being melodically intrusive, to be descriptive in support of the film without coming into the foreground,” Jackman says. His minimalist score added color and texture without being too specific, geographically or emotionally.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016)
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” dealt with Cap’s World War II pal Bucky being turned into an assassin. “There was a schism inside this person, and Henry’s score expressed that idea better than anything in the movie,” says co-director Anthony Russo. “He created a special sound, which sounds like screeching strings but is actually a human voice [distorted and electronically processed].”

Captain America: Civil War,” on the other hand, “drew from a more classical composition style, like Prokofiev,” says co-director Joe Russo. “‘Winter Soldier’ was a very interior movie, about Cap’s struggle, and ‘Civil War’ is played out on a grander, more operatic scale. Both are in service of the storytelling and the approach to the films.”

More Film

  • Joker Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Villains Face Off Again as 'Joker' and 'Maleficent' Battle for First Place

    Despite three new nationwide releases, domestic box office charts look to be dominated by holdovers — Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — during the last weekend in October. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted last weekend with $36 million in North America, enough to dethrone “Joker” after the super-villain origin story’s back-to-back [...]

  • Yasushi Shiina

    Tokyo Market is Finding New Strengths, Says Yasushi Shiina

    Clouds on the global economic horizon and disruption to the scheduling of the event, have done little to dampen the interest of foreign visitors to TIFFCOM, Japan’s biggest film and TV market. Especially those from China, says market head, Yasushi Shiina. The market is again running at the Sunshine City shopping, entertainment and business complex [...]

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    Toho Unveils Dual Media Romance 'Love Me, Love Me Not' at Tokyo Market

    Japan’s biggest film company, which produces, distributes and exhibits its own product in partnership with leading media companies, Toho has brought a line-up to TIFFCOM full of present and future hits. The biggest is “Weathering with You,” the love story animation by Makoto Shinkai that surpassed the $100 million mark only a month after its [...]

  • Hit Me Anyone One More Time

    TIFFCOM: Pony Canyon Saddles up FujiTV's Smash 'Hit Me Anyone'

    One of Japan’s five major broadcast networks, Fuji TV has also been a pioneer and leader among the networks in feature film production. This year at TIFFCOM long-time partner Pony Canyon is representing Fuji TV films that have recently hit number one at the Japanese box office. Among the hottest, with three straight weeks atop [...]

  • Martin Scorsese Avengers

    Are Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola Right About Marvel? (Column)

    If you want to shoot holes in the comments that Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola made recently about Marvel movies (Scorsese: “That’s not cinema”; Coppola: “Martin was being kind when he said it wasn’t cinema. He didn’t say it was despicable, which is what I say”), then go right ahead, because they’ve practically handed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content