Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green Interview: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ sound editors
Sound editor Mark A. Mangini reveals that while he was inspired by the original “Blade Runner” (1982) for his work on Denis Villeneuve‘s followup, “Blade Runner 2049,” he didn’t want to copy it. “One of our early tasks was to understand what made the first film so rich and interesting sonically, and then find a way to deconstruct it and make it our own,” he explains. “We wanted to honor it in the way that it was so effective and so subversive in its use of sound.” By opening themselves up to a more musical and expressionistic style, Mangini and Theo Green reaped an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Editing. Watch our exclusive video interview with the duo above.
According to Green, Villeneuve wanted “a return to that universe,” but not a slavish reproduction. “He was very clear that he was making a film that took place some 30 years on from the original,” he says, “and therefore things had evolved technologically and stylistically.” In creating the spinners, blasters and advertisements that reverberate throughout a futuristic Los Angeles, “he was very much encouraging us to enter into the spirit, but to have creative free rein as well.”
Their main objective, Mangini reveals, was to “immerse the audience in this sonic landscape” and use sound to create mood in the same way that a musical score would. He and Green “spent months creating a pastiche of these sonic textures, these musical compositions that weren’t necessarily melody or rhythm” that would “envelop the audience in the world that is the sound of ‘Blade Runner.'”
Using sound musically was no big stretch for this duo: Green has composed scores for such films as “The Gambler” (2014), while Mangini has written and performed songs for films including “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” (1989) and “Die Hard with a Vengeance” (1995). Green finds that “having an understanding of the elements needed to create a satisfying sound is a lot of the same things you need to know to create a satisfying chord,” so his work in one medium informs the other.
“Blade Runner 2049” is the first Oscar nomination for Green. But Mangini previously won Best Sound Editing for “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) and also competed in that category for “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), “Aladdin” (1992) and “The Fifth Element” (1997). The two of them also compete at the BAFTAs and the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards.