Director Christopher Nolan celebrated his 52nd birthday on July 30 this year. The occasion earned him a message from composer Hans Zimmer.

“Happy birthday to my dear friend and collaborator, #Christopher Nolan. I love creating with you,” read the post on Facebook from Zimmer.

This was not only a customary warm birthday greeting from one industry great to a colleague, but it also went to show that no love is lost between the iconic composer-director duo, who have worked together on classics such as Interstellar, The Dark Knight, Dunkirk among many others.

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Zimmer revealed last year that Christopher Nolan’s reaction to him choosing to score for Dune over Tenet was “not great.”   Zimmer turned down an opportunity to compose music for Tenet in order to work on Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel. Ludwig Goransson, who won an Oscar for his score to Black Panther in 2018, eventually composed Tenet, and also worked on Nolan’s upcoming Oppenheimer.

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Despite the fact that Zimmer and Nolan had previously worked together, Zimmer had also previously worked with Villeneuve, creating the music for the director’s sci-fi sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Zimmer’s other credits include The Lion King, Gladiator, Hidden Figures, and the most recent James Bond franchise entry, No Time To Die.

Zimmer’s recent career has also been built on live performances, including a 2017 participation at Coachella, which has reduced his time spent on film scoring. Zimmer made it clear that taking on Dune was his way back into film score, in the same way that the original Dune literary book inspired him as a boy.

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“Not great. … There’s another part to it as well, which people keep missing out on. I went out on tour, and I suddenly got really interested in this thing that I never thought I’d do. And here I was, sixty-odd years old going, ‘Whoa. This is fun. I like this!’ So Chris realized that, and he realized that that’s where my focus was at that moment,” the 64-year-old composer had said in an interview with the ReelBend podcast.

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Zimmer is known for his use of electronically produced music integrated with live orchestral arrangements. This has allowed his music to convey a wide variety of moods and tones over multiple genres, having composed for over 150 films, including the Top Gun sequel Top Gun: Maverick. Zimmer’s other accolades include four Grammys, two Golden Globes, and three Classical BRIT Awards. With Zimmer confirmed to write the music for Dune: Part Two, it’s clear the collaboration between him and Villeneuve is far from over.

Though Nolan and Zimmer’s ventures are currently on hold, the door is still open if the two desire to work together again. Their collaboration has resulted in the creation of memorable scores in some of Nolan’s most well-known works, with the filmmaker recently stating that Zimmer’s music inspired him to make Interstellar.

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Scoring is one of the most underappreciated, but also one of the most important, occupations in the film industry. The music in a film unconsciously instructs audiences how to feel; when to be happy or pleased, and when to cry. Music weaves seemingly effortlessly through movies, and without it, the audience can feel distant and unsettled.

Zimmer’s Dune score demonstrates how music can make something as bizarre as an alien desert planet feel intriguing, thrilling, yet comfortable.