Darius Marder interview: ‘Sound of Metal’ director
“Sound of Metal” writer/director Darius Marder revealed that the sound design of this new Amazon Prime film took almost half a year to complete. That came at the end of production but as Marder explains, “my sound journey was very long. I wrote all about sound and started dreaming about sound and diagrammed it. I wanted something I hadn’t heard; something that was organic. I was looking for a sound artist and found Nicolas Becker.” Marder was part of Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts panel, conducted virtually by this writer (watch the exclusive video above).
“Sound of Metal” chronicles the story of Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a heavy metal drummer who suffers a sudden hearing loss. The recovering heroin addict finds refuge in a community of deaf people and works to buy cochlear implants. For Marder, the level of commitment from his lead actor was key to the success of the film. “I wasn’t going to make the movie any other way; maybe that is why it took so long. I needed someone who was willing to build a physical foundation, to embody the character, to learn the drums and ASL.”
He was equally impressed with Olivia Cooke, the British ingenue who transformed herself into Ruben’s girlfriend, Lou, the lead singer in the band. But for Marder the real find of the film was Paul Raci who plays Joe, the Vietnam vet and addiction counsellor who befriends Ruben. “I had turned away actors for that role, who were hearing actors, who weren’t from deaf culture. We got a tape from Paul that made me cry. This man was so in this. I was meeting this character that I had written.”
Marder immersed himself in deaf culture. He was surprised to discover “the way so many people on the set looked out for each other. They are very used to not being looked after by the rest of society. You will never be around a group of people that are better listeners.”
Marder was a jack-of-all trades on the 2008 documentary “Loot,” working as director, producer, writer and editor. He then collaborated with director Derek Cianfrance on the screenplay for the 2012 crime thriller “The Place Beyond the Pines.”