Danny Elfman got in trouble in the toilet composing his Batman score

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Danny Elfman reveals that capturing his original Batman score led to the kind of stand-off worthy of the Dark Knight himself.

Danny Elfman, the legendary composer, has revealed how the genesis of the unforgettable score for 1989’s Batman was something of an arduous process that led to him facing conflict at 35,000 feet.

First covered in The Hollywood Reporter, Elfman recalls that the inspiration for the film’s main theme first struck him whilst he was stuck on a plane, flying back from an early set visit. Well, inspiration certainly struck, but Elfman was stuck on said plane, with no way of recording his ideas.

As he puts it:

“That hit me at the worst possible time. On the way home, the thing f**king hits me. And it was like, what do I do? I’m on a 747. How do I do this? I am going to forget this all. I’m going to land and they’re going to play some f**king Beatles song, and I’m going to forget everything… I start running in the bathroom [and hum phrases] and I go back to my seat, and I’m thinking, I’m thinking. Ten minutes later, back in the bathroom. And then back to my seat and then back to the bathroom, because I couldn’t do this with the guy sitting next to me.”

Like any great artist, Elfman wouldn’t be deterred, and made another trip to the bathroom to cement the composition by recording it with a hand-held voice recorder, but it led to an unintended conflict with the flight attendants.

“Ten minutes later, I am back in the bathroom, And I open the door and this time there are three flight attendants. And they were probably going, ‘What the f*ck he is doing so frequently? You can’t do that much blow. You can’t shoot up that often. What is he doing in there?!’ And I piece by piece was working out the Batman score in my head.”

The anecdote is a great example of the lengths artists will go to, in order to capture their work. Elfman, who also revealed recently that he was unhappy with the film’s musical dub, will next be heard composing the MCU film, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, although hopefully his path towards capturing that composition was a far smoother one.

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