Backstage Interview | 86th Academy Awards

Sound Editing

CATEGORY: Sound Editing
INTERVIEW WITH: Glenn Freemantle


Q.    Where will you keep your Oscar in your home?
A.    I'm going to keep it in the lounge.  It's right next to my other ones.  Not my other ones of these.  I haven't got one of these.  I've got one now.  But there you are.

Q.    Skip just called this a movie, kind of a musical, a space oddity, he said.  So can you talk about working on this kind of a musical?
A.    Yeah, I can.  I first met Alfonso formerly in December of 2010, and he says to me, Glenn, we're doing this film?  There's no sound in space.  What are we going to do?  So that moment there, the concept of this film was quite unique in that respect, that came up with the idea that touch, vibration, to try and then take the film through Sandra Bullock, but not only with just sound but with emotion, and put the audience in with her.  You remember the scene, you're spinning, you're spinning, you're spinning, you've had all that, and you go through the helmet and it goes all around you.  From that point you're locking in with her, and that was the concept of it.  So from that point we're using heartbeats, tinnitus, and radio signals for hope and anxiety and everything, that's what we were trying to achieve with the film.  And then, obviously, the vibration, that side, you can add silences, which is cool, because it's a huge dynamic thing when you're silent, whatever you do, you can make yourself take a breath.  So the concept of the sound of this was all about the emotional journey through Sandra and how we were going to approach that, rather than just being bombastic with it, which we didn't want to do.  We wanted to do something completely different, but not only completely different, but right from the first [inaudible] in 2010, Sandra was pre‑vis ‑‑ do you know what pre‑vis is?  It was a 45‑minute section of the film before Sandra and George had been shot ‑‑ they hadn't been shot.  So we had voices from the assistant editors, this, that and the other.  And we designed 45 minutes of the film then to show to the studio.  And the whole concept of the movement and the breathing and the heart and everything else, we started then.  But then we had the great opportunity with the backing of Warners and everything to really create that.  We went into factories and everything and we recorded vibration for every single thing we did and then laid them all out to try and do what we had done.

Q.    Skip called it a musical.  And if you were to use the symphony analogy, how would that work and is there anything that ‑‑
A.    Well, it's a musical.  The thing is, Steve Price did the score of this film.  It was brilliant.  And we worked on it for a long time [inaudible].  So I mean, I worked on this film for over three years, it's a long, long, long journey.  And we were talking, I mean, I called it a ballet years ago.  Like, we would try to do the emotion and then the things of sound designing the concept of blowing things up, we'd normally do, and we were going to try that with music.  So we were going from one to the other which created what it ended up by being.  And it was ‑‑ I put it like a ballet, actually, all the things exploding around, with the music taking that, and then we would do the other side of it.  So the great ‑‑ it was this huge collaboration, Steve and I, we would talk all the time.  And which is not always the way in any film.  And the visual effects, it was a very collaborative thing that we were trying to figure out how to get this balance between everything and create what we eventually came out with.  It wasn't like that straightaway.  It was a few car crashes along the way, but not too bad.


These transcripts may not be reproduced except as brief quotes used in conjunction with news reporting about the 85th Academy Awards®. All content Copyright 2012 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Oscar®," "Oscars®," "Academy Awards®," "Academy Award®," "A.M.P.A.S.®" and "Oscar Night®" are the trademarks, and the ©Oscar® statuette is the registered design mark and copyrighted property, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additional information regarding the "Terms & Conditions of Use" and "Legal Regulations for Using Intellectual Properties of the Academy" may be accessed online at

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Communications Department
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972
Phone (310) 247-3090
FAX (310) 271-3395