Danny Elfman recalls awkward moment he composed the Batman score in a plane bathroom

·2-min read
 (Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

Award-winning composer Danny Elfman has shared the hilarious backstory behind Batman’s iconic score.

Elfman is an American musician known for composing the introductory tune of The Simpsons, as well as scoring Tim Burton films such as Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Among his credits is also the memorable film score to 1989’s Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, for which he won the Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition.

Elfman opened up about the awkward circumstances behind his award-winning score, which he came up with on a flight to Los Angeles, during a recent appearance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast.

“That hit me at the worst possible time. On the way home, the thing f***ing hits me,” he said.

“And it was like, what do I do? I’m on a 747. How do I do this? I am going to forget this all. I’m going to land and they’re going to play some f***ing Beatles song, and I’m going to forget everything.”

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Elfman said he took multiple trips to the plane bathroom with his recorder. 

His bathroom trips were so frequent that a flight attendant asked if he was OK and did not believe him when the composer assured them that he was not doing anything suspicious.

“Ten minutes later, I am back in the bathroom and I open the door and this time there are three flight attendants,” he recalled.

“And they were probably going, ‘What the f*** is he doing so frequently? You can’t do that much blow. You can’t shoot up that often. What is he doing in there?!’”

Despite the drug suspicions, however, Elfman managed to compose the Batman score “piece by piece” on board the plane. 

Earlier this year, the 68-year-old revealed that he was not completely happy with how his score was used in the film. 

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