According to Black Panther composer, Ludwig Goransson, Ryan Coogler does not work with any temporary music while editing his movies, which left the composer with an intense amount of creative control. Coogler told Goransson to use as many African sounds as possible, which led the soundtrack composer on a trip to South and West Africa to study and record instruments that western ears aren’t used to hearing. Since Ludwig Goransson had so much creative freedom, he was able to start early and revealed that he scored Ryan Coogler’s initial 4-hour cut of Black Panther.
Ludwig Goransson relished his creative freedom that Ryan Coogler allowed him to go to Africa and study as well as record African musicians for the score of Black Panther. As previously noted, Coogler doesn’t edit to a temporary score, which is the dream of nearly all composers because they are able to start from scratch and aren’t just trying to make a new version of something. Since Goransson have such a long professional and personal relationship, the composer was able to begin his process really early and had a piece of music for Coogler’s first run at an edit. Goransson had this to say.
“I remember the first director’s cut was four hours long, but I already had a lot of material written and recorded. So, I actually scored the four-hour cut of the film. Which is really great.”
Ludwig Goransson also revealed another benefit of starting his work on the score of Black Panther early. In addition to the intense research that Goransson was able to conduct and the early score, he was able to finish certain themes to help the actors get into their characters. He admits that he was able to finish the Kilmonger theme before filming started and gave it to Michael B. Jordan to help him get into character. He explains.
“Having a great relationship with Ryan means I’m able to start on the film’s score very early. I went to West Africa and South Africa before they started shooting, just to do research. When I came up with Killmonger’s theme, I hired a great fula player to record it. I was able to send all those recordings to Michael B., which helped him prepare for the role.”
Ludwig Goransson grew up in Sweden and admits that he’s not exactly the first thing that people would think of to score a movie with African instruments. However, when he came to the United States in 2007, he met Ryan Coogler at USC. Black Panther is their third soundtrack collaboration as well as the third with Michael B. Jordan and the trio have an amazing shorthand together. Goransson admits that he was really excited to get to finally do a superhero movie and hopes that some of his themes from Black Panther will make it to Infinity War.
In addition to working with Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Goransson also works closely with Donald Glover, who helped out with some of the jokes on Black Panther. Goransson is currently working with Glover on the final Childish Gambino album after working with the artist on his Grammy Award winning album, Darker my Love. You can read the rest of the lengthy interview with Ludwig Goransson and his work on Black Panther at The Hollywood Reporter.