Trevor Gates (‘Us’ sound editor) on the ‘duality’ of his sound work for Jordan Peele’s doppelganger horror film [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Given the breakout success of “Get Out,” supervising sound editor Trevor Gates knew that “there were going to be a lot of spotlights” on Jordan Peele‘s followup film, “Us.” But even without the added pressure, the veteran craftsman was enthusiastic about “the new challenges” this project presented him with. Watch our exclusive video interview with Gates above.

Though they’re both horror films, “Us” and “Get Out” are quite dissimilar stylistically. Their previous effort had “a very naturalistic approach” to sound design, with “only a couple of isolated surreal moments,” including the creation of the Sunken Place. But in this story about a family whose beachside vacation is invaded by violent doppelgangers (led by Lupita Nyong’o in a dual role as both the family matriarch and her murderous double), there were opportunities for more interpretive effects. In many instances, “it was a mixture of heightened realism and some surreal approach.”

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Because the movie is about duality, Gates wanted to express that in his audio work: “I appreciate that Jordan always has something to say about where we are in our society now, so I wanted to make sure I embraced from a sonic standpoint these ideals.” In order to achieve this, “there’s a couple of moments where we snuck in sounds from two parts of the movie that basically created something unique on its own, or had a rhythm and a texture together.” He points out specific instances of this towards the end of the film, so beware of the spoilers in our video!

Gates won his first Primetime Emmy for the “Teddy Perkins” episode of “Atlanta” in 2018, having previously won a News and Documentary Emmy for “Sonic Sound” in 2017. In addition to his work with Peele, he has lent his talents to such TV shows as “The Haunting of Hill House,” “What We Do in the Shadows” and “The Brave,” as well as films such as “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019), “Brightburn” (2019) and the upcoming “Doctor Sleep” (2019).

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