Michael Minkler, David Wyman interview: ‘Greyhound’ sound
“The whole movie was about keeping it moving. The peril never stops,” reveals “Greyhound” supervising sound editor Michael Minkler. Sound mixer David Wyman adds, “So much of it was in the undertow of getting the performances from the actors.” The sound duo joined us recently for an exclusive webchat (watch the video above).
The Apple TV+ film is set in World War II, telling the story of Navy Commander Krause (Tom Hanks) on his first wartime mission. Being hunted by Germans, his ship gets entangled in the Battle of the Atlantic. Minkler explains, “These people had a relatively small amount of time to get across the sea in the zone without any air cover, while being stalked by dozens of U-boats. It was a terrifying experience. The music is driving the intensity and fear, then you turn over the sound effects; something that changes the amount of danger. In the midst of battle, with all the noise and the chaos, people must be heard. Choices literally comes every foot of film. Whether it’s an emotional experience or an adventurous one full of chaos and war, always keep it moving.”
The naval film has been recognized with an Oscar nomination in the newly-combined Best Sound category (which amalgamates sound recorders and sound mixers). Wyman and Minkler share the Oscar nomination with Warren Shaw (supervising sound editor) and Beau Borders (re-recording mixer).
Wyman reveals, “The hardest scene we had to do, is where Tom Hanks and Stephen Graham (who plays Charlie Cole) are talking about this potential U-Boat sighting. We shot both sets simultaneously. We split the camera crew. We modified a lot of this 1940’s equipment through the ship. When you see those conversations in the edit that actually happened in real time. Tom presses the button, Stephen hears it at the other end. When they pick up the phone they are connected as well. That was a pretty difficult scene to do, but it paid dividends for the actors.”
He adds, “The principle of being able to pass a succinct message was part of the script. It was our responsibility to allow the actors to pass very succinct messages between them. It fell under the sound umbrella to invent this communication system for the set. That real time urgency without having to wait for someone doing a line read. Our actors were never off watch, even when they were not on scene, they were down sitting next to me with microphones waiting to chime in with their lines.”