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Why Henry Jackman is the perfect composer for Kong: Skull Island


A good musical score can completely change the atmosphere of a film, adding tension or relief at just the right moment to keep audiences drawn into the narrative.

With so much riding on the perfect score, it’s imperative that the right person is chosen to compose it. And luckily, Kong: Skull Island’s composer is none other than Henry Jackman, whose previous credits include X:Men First Class and Captain America: Civil War, to name but two.

With such an accomplished track history behind him we can rest assured that Jackman will create something amazing, and for those of you who are unfamiliar, we’ve compiled a few key pieces of information to keep you in the loop.

He's worked with world-renowned artists

Before he got started on film compositions, Jackman produced songs for a number of highly-acclaimed artists, including Elton John and Gary Barlow. As if this wasn’t enough, he also co-produced Seal’s unreleased 2001 album Togetherland.

In addition to producing this album, Jackman also co-wrote the song This Could Be Heaven, which ultimately ended up being used in the film The Family Man before being included in the deluxe edition of Seal’s Hits compilation album.

Such a diverse background means Jackman is well-versed in a host of different musical styles and approaches, which promises to lend a degree of freshness to the score for Kong: Skull Island. Indeed, the composer has already confirmed he'll be feeding off the movie's 1979 setting and infusing the music with unexpected elements.

"The great thing about a monster movie is that it opens the door to use the symphony orchestra in its most sumptuous way," he says. “[Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts] was happy to celebrate the gravity and history that comes with a full orchestra, but we also explored less traditional elements. That’s a field day for a composer."

He was mentored by Hans Zimmer

With the wide range of skills and experience he had already obtained, Jackman caught the attention of Hans Zimmer, who became Jackman's mentor as the latter joined him as an additional composer on films including The Dark Knight and The Simpsons Movie.

With Zimmer having composed for over 150 films throughout his career, and receiving numerous prestigious awards from Grammys to Academy Awards, his expertise was highly influential on Jackman and allowed him to obtain the skills needed to step out of his shadow and forge a solo career in the field.

Zimmer's famously masculine and bold tones are no doubt going to be heard in the Kong: Skull Island score as they have in Jackman's acclaimed action works like the aforementioned Captain America: Civil War, whose militaristic nature matched the ongoing battle within the Avengers.

He can cover a wide range of genres with ease

Kong: Skull Island is poised to be a rollercoaster ride moving from seat-gripping action to suspenseful terror as the dreaded Skullcrawlers make their appearance. You therefore want a composer who can do the story's complexities justice.

Enter Jackman. Monsters vs. Aliens, Kick-Ass, Puss in Boots, Big Hero 6,The Interview, Kingsman: The Secret Service… This is just a small sample of the films that he has worked on over the past 10 years. Action films, comedies, family films, there seems to be no genre that he hasn’t contributed to at least once, and with each one he dedicates himself fully to the craft.

It can’t be easy juggling all of these different styles, with some being worked on during the same or extremely close time frames, and yet Jackman seems to handle each and every one with ease.

He's award-winning!

Starting with a shared Annie Award in 2009 for his work on the Kung Fu Panda short Secrets of the Furious Five, Jackman’s awards success has only continued to grow. A further five Annie award nominations have followed, including a win for Wreck-It Ralph, alongside four wins at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards across a period of four years.

This has all culminated to a BAFTA award nomination in 2014 for his work on Captain Phillips. He might not have won the award but when you’re in a category including music from Saving Mr Banks, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Gravity, haven’t you already won?

Coming a long way from his 2009 nomination for Breakout Composer of the Year at the International Film Music Critics Awards, Jackman has gone on to become one of the most sought after composers within the industry today. And his own awards credibility promises to lend further prestige to Kong: Skull Island.

He comes from a family of musically gifted people

For starters, his father was Andrew Pryce Jackman, the keyboard player from rock band The Syn. Before that, his grandfather Bill Jackman played clarinet on When I’m Sixty Four, from The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

The musical gene is clearly strong in Jackman, with study of classical music spanning across St Paul’s Cathedral Choir School, Eton College and University of Oxford. Jackman’s career has involved co-producing, songwriting and a number of solo albums in addition to his film compositions, and he has recently branched out to composing for video games, including the recently released Uncharted 4.

Need we say more about why Kong has found its perfect composer?

So what do you think? Have we convinced you that Jackman is up to the job? Let us know your thoughts @Cineworld and be sure to check out Kong: Skull Island when it roars onto our screens on 10th March 2017.