Exclusive: Ludwig Göransson Dishes On Composing The Music For ‘Black Panther’

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SDCC 2017 Exclusive: Ludwig Göransson Dishes On Composing The Music For ‘Black Panther’
Posted by Wilson Morales

August 10, 2017

During 2017 San Diego Comic Con, Blackfilm.com attended a panel discussion for Musical Anatomy of a Superhero, where this year’s panelist included Mark Isham (Cloak & Dagger, Blade) Marco Beltrami (Logan, Wolverine), Ludwig Goransson (Black Panther, Death Wish), Brian Tyler (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Power Rangers), David Russo (Gotham), Lorne Balfe (Lego Batman Movie) and moderated by Ray Costa of Costa Communications.

After the Q & A, Blackfilm.com caught up with Goransson, where he briefly discussed his work composing the music for Marvel’s Black Panther, which was directed by his longtime collaborator Ryan Coogler. 

Together, the two have worked on “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.” They met when there were students at USC (University of Southern California).

Black Panther’s cast includes Chadwick BosemanMichael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’oDanai GuriraMartin FreemanSterling K. Brown, Daniel KaluuyaAngela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy SerkisLetitia WrightWinston Duke, Florence KasumbaShaunette Renée Wilson, Isaach de Bankolé, and John Kani.

“T’Challa’s homeland is the site of massive natural deposits of Vibranium, the near-mystical metal that comprises Captain America’s shield, is woven into his Black Panther, and has allowed the people of Wakanda to make technological leaps nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world. But as T’Challa learns upon ascending the throne, the minute others know you have something valuable, someone will try to take it from you. In self-defense, Wakanda has closed itself off from the other nations of Earth, maintaining a false front that it’s a mere third-world nowhere – full of mines, farms, and jungle creatures. The truth is, its mines produce the rarest, most precious metal on earth, its fields grows the Heart-Shaped Herb, a Vibranium-enriched plant that grants its leaders superhuman strength, and its jungle creatures provide inspiration for one of the sleekest superheroes to ever leap from the page to the screen.”

In addition to his work with Coogler, the Swedish born composer has worked and film 30 Minutes or Less, We’re the Millers, Top Five, Central Intelligence, Everything, Everything, and the upcoming Eli Roth film Death Wish.

Having worked with Ryan on most of his projects, did you think you would be working on the Black Panther score as well?

Ludwig Göransson: I was hoping. You never know anything for sure. We’ve been working together for 10 years.

From the trailer that has been shown so far, is that your music or a temp mix?

Ludwig Göransson: That’s a temp mix. That’s a song from a band called Run the Jewels.

Most composers have a signature score. Will there be something in the score you’re composing that any of your fans will pick out as something they’ve heard before from your previous work?

Ludwig Göransson: I think it’s both. There’s stuff that I’ve never done before. Musically, I went around to the synagogue in South Africa and found some amazing musicians and some amazing people that played some new sounds and gave me so much inspiration. Then I take it home and I put it in the superhero world and that’s the challenge.

Was there any person or group that influenced you when putting together the score?

Ludwig Göransson: I’m always inspired by our great classic composers and for this films, it’s just a way to find a perfect blend between so many different sounds. That’s the challenge.

How much of a fan are you of the comic book world?

Ludwig Göransson: I haven’t gone around buying comic books. It’s not a big thing in Europe like is here in the states. I was surprised when I moved here and was seeing so many comic book stores. I’m a huge fan of Blade and went and saw that in the theaters and freaked out. Obviously, Batman and Superman. It’s always been a dream to score one of the movies where you get to write music for heroes.

Assuming you’ve seen some, if not all, of the Marvel and DC films, is there any particular score that stood out for you?

Ludwig Göransson: Batman with Danny Elfman’s score was an early influence and got me into film scoring.

How has Ryan contributed to the music you’re creating for Black Panther? Does he come during or after you’re done the music?

Ludwig Göransson: I talk to him a lot before he starts shooting scenes and try to get his vision and understand musically what he’s looking for; and then I try to take that story and turn that into notes and music. With the story of Wakanda being the most hyped technological, advanced civilization in the world that’s been hidden in Africa for so long, musically there’s a lot of possibilities you can play with.

Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.


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