Danny Elfman Has A Great Story About Composing The Batman Theme On An Airplane

Elfman kept rushing to the bathroom when he got an idea and flight attendants thought he was doing cocaine.


Veteran Hollywood and TV composer Danny Elfman has an incredible story about composing the music for Tim Burton's Batman while on an airplane. He said on Marc Maron's podcast that he flew to London to visit the set to get inspired. On his trip back to America, inspiration struck, but he had a problem: he was on an airplane and wanted to record his ideas before he forgot them.

So he took his personal recorder into the bathroom to hum his musical ideas. But each time he got back to his seat, it wasn't long until he had another idea and he headed for the bathroom again "because I couldn't do this with the guy sitting next to me," he said on the podcast, as covered by The Hollywood Reporter.

Eventually, the flight attendants took notice of this erratic behavior. After recording another segment of the music for Batman in the bathroom, Elfman opened the lavatory door and a flight attendant asked if he was OK. He said he was. But he quickly returned to the bathroom to record more of his thoughts. Later, he was greeted by three flight attendants who Elfman says believed he was in the bathroom doing cocaine.

"They were probably going, 'What the fu** 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."

In 2017, Elfman told People that Batman was his most challenging project ever, in part because he'd never made music for a drama before. "Batman was, and still rates as, the most difficult and challenging movie experience I ever had in my life," he said.

Elfman is a longtime and frequent collaborator with Burton. In addition to writing the music for Batman, Elfman composed the scores for Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also did the music for Good Will Hunting, Men in Black, and the Fifty Shades of Grey movies. Elfman famously created the theme song to The Simpsons as well.

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