Henry Jackman has established himself as one of today’s top composers by fusing his classical training and his experience as a successful record producer and creator of electronic music. His musical versatility ratcheted up the tension in Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips (earning him a BAFTA nomination), super-powered such comic book hits as X-Men: First Class and Captain America: Winter Soldier; kicked ass in Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Kick-Ass; breathed life into legendary animated characters like Winnie the Pooh, Puss in Boots, Wreck-It Ralph, and Oscar-winner Big Hero 6. His most recent work can be heard in the standalone Jumanji sequel, Jumanji: Welcome To the Jungle, Marvel’s blockbuster hit Captain America: Civil War, Naughty Dog’s latest installment in the Uncharted video game franchise, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and the adventure sequel from Warner Bros.’ Kong: Skull Island starring Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston.
His other diverse credits include the animated features Monsters vs. Aliens and Turbo, period drama Henri 4, family adventure Gulliver’s Travels (starring Jack Black), crime thriller Man on a Ledge, horror fantasy Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and the Seth Rogen / James Franco comedies This is the End and (the firestorm sensation) The Interview. Most recently for Jackman were Walt Disney Animation’s adventure sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, the biographical drama Trial By Fire directed by Edward Zwick, Twentieth Century Fox’s highly anticipated remake The Predator, and Netflix’s IO. Up next for Jackman is Pokémon Detective Pikachu, starring Ryan Reynolds.
Jackman grew up in the southeast of England, where he began composing his first symphony at the age of six. He studied classical music at Oxford and sang in the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir—but simultaneously got involved in the underground rave scene and began producing popular electronica music and dance remixes, eventually working with artists such as Seal and The Art of Noise. In 2006 he caught the attention of film composers Hans Zimmer and John Powell, and began writing additional music for Zimmer and Powell on Kung Fu Panda, and then for Zimmer on The Dark Knight, The Da Vinci Code, and The Pirates of the Caribbean films, which rapidly led to scoring blockbuster films on his own.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working in the record industry,” says Jackman, “and for my money being a film composer is way more fun. You can be working on X-Men, and then a movie set in 17th-century Italy. It’s not about showing off what you think is cool or what you want to hear, but ‘what is this movie about, and what would best serve it?’ That process just leads to strange and remarkable places.”