11:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Sounds Came From Cats, Classic Movies
Against all odds — and thanks, in part, to a popular parody Twitter account — Star Wars: The Force Awakens' main villain has become a beloved figure amongst fandom in ways that make him seem more cuddly than terrifying. That feeling is only likely to become widespread with the revelation that his signature sound effect literally comes from an adorable kitty cat.
"The Kylo Ren Force rumble—the really chunky and animalistic rumble—is my cat’s purring," David Acord, supervising sound editor and sound designer for the movie, told Nerdist in an interview about the movie's sound design. "It’s heavily pitched and slowed version of my cat’s purr that becomes Kylo Force rumble."
Matthew Wood, another supervising sound editor on the project, added that Adam Driver was particularly method actor-y when it came to looping Kylo Ren's dialogue. "One of the first sessions I did with him in New York, we set up the scene where the officer gives him the bad news that they’ve lost the droid," he said. "He was… I think we had to cut out many, many swear words between the lines to get the intention there. That’s how he works."
Acord also explained that the movie's sound design also includes audio from other Lucasfilm properties — including one particular unexpected addition. "There are more obvious sounds we’ve pulled from for the movie like the X-Wings, the Falcon, and that kind of thing," he said. "Then there’s some other cool things like when the rathtar is rolling down the hallway after Han and Chewie, I put in the sound of Ben Burtt’s boulder roll sound from Raiders of the Lost Ark when the boulder is chasing Indy."
Now it seems like a distinct missed opportunity that it was never quite established how Han Solo felt about snakes…