Eugene Gearty (‘The Irishman’ sound editor, mixer) on stripping away everything he’d learned for intimate mob epic [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Martin Scorsese and film editor Thelma Schoonmaker “really stressed the idea of intimacy” in “The Irishman,” explains supervising sound editor and mixer Eugene Gearty. So in a way they “wanted to strip away what most of us [sound designers] do for a living.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Gearty above.

SEE Rodrigo Prieto Interview: ‘The Irishman’ cinematographer

The film was a passion project for Scorsese 12 years in the making, an epic story about how low-level truck driver Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) became an enforcer for Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). It’s adapted from Charles Brandt‘s nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which posits that Sheeran was involved in Hoffa’s disappearance in the 1970s.

Although on paper it sounds similar to Scorsese’s “GoodFellas” (1990), “The Irishman” is more mournful and therefore quieter. “Sound wanted to get out of the way,” says Gearty. “It was all about the raw intimacy of these performances.”

SEE Robert De Niro could become 3rd SAG lifetime achievement winner to be nominated in the same year

Gearty’s challenge, therefore, “was sort of a reverse idea” of everything he had learned. “You have to recalculate your whole idea of what sound is based on all the work we’ve done on many films, and Marty’s films in particular prior to this.” At the end of the day “it was all about simplicity” and making sure “the performances weren’t being overwhelmed by anything extraneous.”

Gearty took home an Oscar for Best Sound Editing for his work on another Scorsese film, “Hugo” (2011), and he was also nominated in that category for the director’s “Gangs of New York” (2002) as well as Ang Lee‘s “Life of Pi” (2012). For his work on TV, he won an Emmy for the Scorsese-directed pilot of “Boardwalk Empire” and was nominated for Spike Lee‘s documentary “4 Little Girls” (1997).

Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby