Unless you were stuck in Limbo the past few years, you’ve probably witnessed the multilevel impact of Chris Nolan’s 2010 cinematic tour-de-force, Inception. I can remember seeing the film in theaters and being completely blown away by the honestly jarring score ; in particular that iconic low note that quickly became a pop culture phenomena in and of itself. Go-to film scoring veteran, Hans Zimmer, had once again hugely impacted the cinema world.
It was no big secret that Zimmer drew heavy inspiration from French songstress Edith Piaf’s version of “Non, je ne regrette rien.” In fact, he admitted that the “soul of the film can be directly traced to [the] famed French balladeer…” Film and music nerds alike soon found themselves obsessing over this video – a brilliant mash-up that depicts the relationship between Zimmer’s composition and Pilaf’s “Non, je ne regret rein.”
The score was met with a bit of controversy come Oscar time, though. The Academy Awards have very strict guidelines regarding the “Best Original Score” category and it was up in the air whether or not Zimmer’s inspired work would even be nominated. He was lucky enough that the Academy ultimately granted him the well-deserved nomination, even though he ended up losing to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for “The Social Network.”
The point here is: Inspiration shows itself in so many unexpected ways. Sometimes borrowing from an outside source is the only way to effectively capture what we as creators are trying to convey. For Nolan and Zimmer, that relatively obscure song from the 50s spawned a musical/cinematic experience that captivated millions. These days, it’s becoming increasingly easy for creators to acquire the tools needed for their next masterpiece. Now, there’s nothing stopping you from creating the next big thing.