Andy Nelson, Will Files, Douglas Murray, Stuart Wilson (‘The Batman’ sound team): ‘Very different take on the character’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I don’t know if there’s ever been a Batman film so intimately from Bruce’s point of view emotionally,” reflects sound editor Will Files about “The Batman.” For our recent webchat he continues, “Even something as spectacular as the batmobile chase, you are with Bruce the whole time.” Watch the full exclusive interview with the Oscar-nominated sound team above.

“The Batman” is a new iteration of the iconic caped crusader with director and co-writer Matt Reeves exploring Gotham City as a noir drama. In it, Batman (Robert Pattinson) is a crime-fighting detective who needs to solve riddles and uncover corruption to foil a serial killer targeting politicians.

Andy Nelson was the re-recording mixer on the film. He previously won Oscars for his sound work on “Les Miserables” (2013) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). The mixer explains, “Matt allows things to build and doesn’t try to rush a sequence. If there’s atmosphere in there, he’s going to exploit it and use it to all advantages. There’s been comments from other directors since this film has come out about how those quiet moments are so effective.”

Douglas Murray, was the supervising sound editor and reflects, “This is a very different take on the character. In this one Bruce Wayne is a recluse. There is a quietness to this film, a kind of inwardness. Trying to figure out the psychology of the main character is a big part of the story-arc. With the sound we were really inspired to go with a point of view where you hear and see thigs through the eyes of Batman.”

Stuart Wilson was the sound mixer who worked in England recording the actors. He’s previously won an Oscar for his work on “1917” (2020). He reveals, that for recording The Riddler, “Paul Dano is a very creative actor. We stuck microphones on his face inside his mask. When he’s speaking sometimes, he was going to use a distortion effect so he’s not recognized. The idea was it’s very low tech, maybe something he adapted from a toy. I got a vintage voice modelling unit to put distortion on it. Paul could lean into a particular sibilance or resonance in his voice as he was speaking. He could play with it and be really scary with the disturbing voice he came up with.”

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