Although Klaus Badelt had built a solid reputation working on music for movies and commercials in his native Germany, it was only when he joined Hans Zimmer's company Media Ventures in Santa Monica, California in 1998 that his career really took off. He collaborated with Zimmer on blockbusters including Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line (1998), the animated The Prince Of Egypt (1998), Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000), Mission Impossible II (2000), Werner Herzog's Invincible, Hannibal, Pearl Harbour and Sean Penn's The Pledge (all 2001). He also began to make a name in his own right by his contribution to the movie Extreme Days (2001) and his first major score for the Kurt Wimmer directed Equilibrium (starring Christian Bale) in 2002. Major Hollywood films followed that year with K-19: The Widowmaker starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson and the remake of H.G. Well's The Time Machine starring Guy Pearce. The movie that really established Badelt as a major composer was 2003's Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl which first introduced audiences to Johnny Depp's magnificent and enduring character Captain Jack Sparrow. Although the runaway success of that movie would be difficult to replicate, Badelt's subsequent 2003 soundtracks were all critically acclaimed. Beat The Drum was a South African film that found him collaborating with fellow German composer Ramin Djawadi who had been his assistant while working for Hans Zimmer. Basic was a thriller starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson and Ned Kelly (2003) was a drama starring Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom while The Recruit was a thriller starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell.
Over the following years Badelt took on a mixture of major studio and independent movies including Catwoman (2004) (starring Halle Berry), the Chinese epic The Promise (2005), and the collaboration with American composer Brian Tyler on Constantine (2005) (starring Keanu Reeves). Another was the fine collaboration with Ramin Djawadi on Warner Herzog's Rescue Dawn (2006) (starring Christian Bale). Other's followed with Michael Mann's big screen version of Miami Vice (2006) (co-composed with John Murphy and starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx), Poseidon (2006) (starring Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss), Richard Donner's 16 Blocks (2006) (starring Bruce Willis), Kurt Wimmer's Ultraviolet (2006) (starring Milla Jovovich), Redline (2007), Premonition (2007) (starring Sandra Bullock, TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) (2007), Russell Mulcahy's The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior (2008), Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008), Killshot (2008), Solomon Kane (2009) (starring James Purefoy and Max Von Sydow), Waking Madison (2010), Shanghai (2010), the Kevin Kline comedy The Extra Man (2010), horror movie Dylan Dog: Day Of The Dead (2011), the animated Anglo/French production The Prodigies (2011), the collaboration with Christopher Carmichael, Seven Days In Utopia (2011), The Oranges (2011) and Shanghai Calling (2012). Badelt has also composed a number of French movies including the thriller, Pour Elle (2008), the animated Dragon Hunters (2008), the children's comedy Le Petit Nicholas (2009), the romantic comedy L'Arnacœur (2010), the action film À Bout Portant (2010), the 3D Astérix And Obélix: Au Service De Sa Majesté (2012, the comedies Un plan parfait (2012) and Supercondriaque (2014). Badelt has worked with a number of collaborators, one of his most consistent has been English musician Andrew Raiher who has been involved in projects including; Constantine, 16 Blocks, Ultraviolet, Poseidon, Rescue Dawn, Premonition, TMNT, Dragon Hunters, The Scorpion King 2, Starship Troopers 3, Killshot, Solomon Kane, Waking Madison, L' Arnacœur, Shanghai, The Extra Man, Dylan Dog: Day Of The Dead and The Oranges . A number of Badelt's soundtracks have enjoyed significant commercial and critical success in their own right when released as albums, notable highlights being; The Time Machine, K-19: The Widowmaker, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (which yielded an unlikely UK Top 40 hit with 'He's A Pirate'), The Promise and Premonition.
Badelt's resume also extends beyond scoring for the big screen and as such he has created the music for documentaries including hip-hop artist Pras Michel's Skid Row (2007) and Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov's Happy People: A Year In The Taiga (2010) as well as composing the score for the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He has received numerous accolades including ASCAP Award's for Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl and for Constantine (shared with Brian Tyler) and a World Soundtrack Award for The Time Machine.
Unlike many composers Badelt does not have what could be described as his own sound, preferring instead to approach each movie without preconceived ideas of score or instrumentation. There are such huge differences between his soundtracks that it would be easy to mistake many them as being composed by different musicians. His search for authenticity has seen his score for K-19: The Widowmaker, a film about a Russian nuclear submarine, featuring the Kirov Theatre Orchestra and Chorus while
for the Chinese epic fantasy The Promise he recruited the services of the China National Symphony Orchestra. This demonstrates originality and a refusal to follow a comfortable pattern and as such should be applauded.
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