Backstage Interview: SOUND

Backstage Interview: SOUND

INTERVIEW WITH: Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug, Hemphill and Ron Bartlett


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          A.    (MAC RUTH) Dune. We are Dune!


          Q.    (Indiscernible audio) -- but with the other departments to

                bring this novel fully forth on the screen?


          A.    (THEO GREEN) I think that was an amazing effort between --

                especially between Mark and Theo to create all these great

                sounds for the film, and to really find the voice of the movie,

                no pun intended. But it's really Denis' vision who really

                studied the book, and a lot of us read the book as kids and

                adults as well.

                But to really bring that story to life in a very real way was

                outstanding, and it's all thanks to Denis.

          A.    (THEO GREEN) yeah. We have a director who really believes in

                collaborative editing, and I was so happy to see Joe Walker win

                because he's one of the central figures that works with Denis

                to pass the ideas between us and sound and VFX. He is kind of

                the clearing house, as it were, for all of the ideas that we

                come up with.

                He and Denis sit there, we feed things into Joe Walker's edit,

                he passes those to the VFX guys, and that's how we ended up

                having a tight collaboration on this. All Denis' idea.

          A.    (MARK MANGINI) one of the things that makes this collaboration

                with Denis so unique is that, traditionally, sound is meant as

                reactive. We're in what's traditionally called post-production,

                after the film is shot.

                But Denis is a very progressive and forward-thinking director,

                and he has us working with Paul Lambert and his visual effects

                team and Joe and with Hans, and we are designing sounds early

                such that they can inform the edit and inform the VFX.  So

                rather than being reactive, or sound being reactive, we are

                much more proactive, and that's a modern and intelligent way to

                organize a film.


          Q.    Congratulations.  Very well deserved.

                        Did you have a chance to see the ceremony, how -- how

                your award was announced?


          A.    Yeah.


          Q.    Great. How do you all think that whole situation was handled?


          A.    (DOUG HEMPHILL) Well, that's a tough question. But we're here

                to honor the film and honor Denis, and that's all we want to do

                tonight.  We are not here to get into that sort of stuff.  That

                is, I believe, something for later.


          Q.    Okay.


          Q.    Congratulations.

                        I wanted to ask you, what did you feel was the -- was

                there one singular challenge in this film that maybe was

                different than other films you've been on?


          A.    (DOUG HEMPHILL) Oh, my God.  Every other scene, it's just --

                you guys, jump in on this one.

          A.    (MARK MANGINI) I would say that, for us, the goal was to

                redefine science fiction in cinema.  Traditionally, science

                fiction uses sound in a way that is designed to compliment

                things you've never seen before, with, arguably, things you

                maybe have never heard before.

                Denis' mandate was make this a universe that sounds familiar.

                So we had to really rethink the sound of science fiction so

                that you felt as though you were, in effect, hearing a

                documentary, as if you put out a boom pole and captured the

                sounds of worms and ornithopters and shields and all the

                fantastical things that we had to make.

                All of them were made, believe it or not, out of traditional

                organic acoustic sounds. We used very, very little electronic

                or synthetic sound in this film, so much so that, of the 3200

                individually created design sounds that are unique to our film,

                only about four or five of them are actually derived from

                electronic devices.


          Q.    Hello, Carolyn Giardina, Hollywood reporter.  Congratulations.


          A.    (MAC RUTH) Hi, Carolyn.


          Q.    Ron, a few of you, you've been nominated before.  This is your

                first win.  Would you just describe what it feels like right

                now and what this award means to you?


          A.    (RON BARTLETT) it's so special, because -- every award, of

                course, every nomination is really special. But to do this for

                Denis is so close to my heart, I can't tell you. He is such a

                wonderful human and such a great artist of how he makes films.

                He's a visionary.

                He's one of the best filmmakers I've ever had the pleasure of

                working with, and I can't tell you what it means to be able to

                support him and bring this guy home in support of him.

          A.    (THEO GREEN) I was very confused when Denis Villeneuve was not

                nominated for directing. It's as if the film directed itself

                and all of these cross categories magically did great work.

                Seeing the sweep that Dune is having tonight makes me very

                proud for Denis. But I know that he's proud that we've won



          Q.    Hello. My name is Thomas Vuscala [phonetic] from the Slovac

                Republic. A massive congratulations.

                        It is amazing what you have achieved by sound.  I

                really enjoyed it. What would you say to young sound designers

                who are watching you today and be inspired by you? So I wanted

                to ask what would you say to them, for the future sound

                designers of our nation?


          A.    (THEO GREEN) One very simple thing I would say is that sound

                design is something you can do without having a lot of money in

                your pockets. I mean, really, you need a computer and a

                microphone, and you are -- and you are good.

                So for me, that was one of the reasons that I got started in

                sound design. I would have loved to do all kinds of things in

                film, but sound presented an opportunity to create work with a

                great director and not have to own a huge amount of expensive



          Q.    Thank you so much.


          Q.    Hey, everybody.  Now you have here -- my first name and last

                name is Tion, and my last name is [indiscernible] from the U.S.

                Press Corps.  I'm a journalist.  And first of all, I would say

                congratulations on your Oscar award tonight.

                        And I have one question for you. I just want to know,

                like, is it a great feeling?  Do you feel excited right now?


          A.    (MAC RUTH) Excited? Absolutely. I'm through the moon.

          A.    (DOUG HEMPHILL) I will say this is as much for our fans as for

                anybody, and this puppy is going to my daughter's house. She is

                a huge fan.

          A.    (ALL) There we go.

          A.    (MAC RUTH) Here's to the fans of Dune.  I know everybody loves

                the book. There's so many rabid fans out there, and we've had a

                great response from them, and we really did this for them as

                well as Denis, who really stuck close to the book. And that's

                really what it meant. It was so fantastic.  Thank you.


          Q.    Hey. It's Jaz Tankai [phonetic] from Variety. Congratulations

                to you all.

                        Theo, I want to ask you, what sound are you most proud

                of for creating in the movie?

                        And, for all of you, are you going to be back for Dune

                2? I know some of the crew have said that they would be back.

                Are any of you coming back for Dune 2?

                (THEO GREEN) I laughed at the last part, but yeah. Obviously, we

                would love to complete the story.  So yes. I hope so.

                And the sound I'm the most proud of is the one that took the

                longest in gestation. I think it's the sound of the voice. For

                me, that's something which was always going to be the hardest

                thing, not to make it computery, not to make it, kind of,

                effectsy, not to make it electronic, but to somehow feel as if

                you've got inside someone's head for a moment.

                That's the one I think I'm the happiest with. Although, I have

                to say, I don't think the voice actually occurs very much in

                part 2. So maybe we're spent with that idea already.


          Q.    Thank you so much.


          A.    (MAC RUTH) The voice was such a journey for all of us.  It

                started months and months and months ago, and it followed all

                the way through until almost the very last day before we made

                our print master.

                It took all of us, and Denis and Joe was a big part of that. It

                was really a collective effort that made that sound work for

                the voice and to tell that story. And it was -- it was really,

                like, feeding off of each other in such a creative way that I

                have not seen any movie, really, to that degree. So this is a

                special group, and I am just honored to be part of that.

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