Ludwig Göransson reveals Christopher Nolan's heavy breathing is part of 'Tenet' score

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3 mins read
Ludwig Goransson poses with the Best Original Score Oscar for "Black Panther" on February 24, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Ludwig Goransson poses with the Best Original Score Oscar for "Black Panther" on February 24, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson has revealed that Christopher Nolan’s heavy breathing was incorporated into the score for Tenet.

The 35-year-old told journalists at the Tenet press conference that he began work on the movie six months before cameras rolled, enabling the score to be assembled in tandem with the film.

He said that guitars were a big part of the score, with distortion effects and manipulations used to create something entirely unique.

Read more: Tenet gets new IMAX poster as UK release set

“I like to take things that are familiar and sounds that you're familiar with and manipulate them into sounds where you can't really put your finger on what it is,” he said.

It turns out one of those sounds was the voice of his director, who provided part of the soundscape used around Kenneth Branagh’s villainous character.

“We also used some human sounds, with someone breathing into a microphone very heavily,” said Göransson.

John David Washington in a still from Christopher Nolan's thriller 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
John David Washington in a still from Christopher Nolan's thriller 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

“It was Chris's idea for the antagonist of the movie. Part of his sound is actually Chris's breath, breathing through a microphone that I manipulated and turned around into these really uncomfortable, raspy sounds.”

Read more: Branagh says Tenet will help film industry get back to normal

Göransson won the Oscar for Best Original Score for his work on superhero blockbuster Black Panther and has since worked on major projects including Venom and The Mandalorian.

He said he realised from the moment he read the script for Tenet that “this was a world we had never seen or experienced before”.

He added: “I knew that we needed a different sound and a different quality of music that sounded completely different to anything we had heard before.”

'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Nolan said he doesn’t use temp music on his movies and that this is why Göransson was drafted in to begin work before a frame of footage had been shot.

“It's informing the DNA of the film really. It's really integrated fully,” he said.

Read more: Tenet has less CGI than most romcoms

Nolan added: “One of the great things about working with Ludwig that I was enjoying tremendously was his approach to building the sounds from the ground up, from nothing.

Christopher Nolan and John David Washington on the set of 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Christopher Nolan and John David Washington on the set of 'Tenet'. (Credit: Warner Bros)

“So there's nothing that has specific associations. Everything is fresh in some way.

“I think that allows the music to function more the way that traditional sound design functions in a film, where it's very subliminal in a lot of its effects.”

Read more: Tenet tickets now on sale

Tenet follows John David Washington’s mysterious character — known only as The Protagonist — as he deals with the strange concept of “time inversion”.

The cast also features Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and the aforementioned Branagh as a villainous Russian oligarch.

Tenet will be released into UK cinemas from 26 August, with US Nolan fans set to get their fix from 3 September in cinemas that are able to open.