Kevin O’Connell Q&A: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ sound mixer
“Stepping up to make the film sound as cool as Mel made it look was our biggest challenge,” said “Hacksaw Ridge” sound mixer Kevin O’Connell about working on director Mel Gibson‘s fact-based war film. O’Connell was part of a “Meet the Experts” panel presented by Gold Derby at the Landmark Theater in L.A. on Nov. 16 to spotlight great achievements in crafts. Watch him discuss the film in our video below.
“Hacksaw Ridge” tells the true story of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), a devout Christian and a pacifist so committed to his beliefs that he refused to carry a weapon while on the battlefield as a medic during World War II. It’s not the first war film for O’Connell, who admitted, “Movies I tend to work on tend to be loud.”
But it’s about more than just volume. Designing sounds for the battlefield is painstaking work. “Our challenge was to step up to the plate and put the viewers on that battlefield with Andrew Garfield, Luke Bracey and Vince Vaughn … You have to keep the energy going the whole time, have to know when to play sound effects and when not to. You’ve got 300 explosions going on, 800 rifles going on and they all have to sound a little different so that the viewer doesn’t get tired of hearing the same old sounds over and over again.”
O’Connell is one of the most successful sound mixers in the industry. This year he worked on the sci-fi film “Passengers” in addition to “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Ben-Hur” and “Central Intelligence.” His career credits also include “Top Gun” (1986), “Beetlejuice” (1988), “Crimson Tide” (1995), “Twister” (1996), “Armageddon” (1998), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Transformers” (2007) and countless others.
For his efforts O’Connell has been nominated for a whopping 20 Oscars. He hasn’t won, but he’s a strong contender for Best Sound Mixing again this year according to our latest racetrack odds. Do you think he’ll finally win overdue honors from the academy?