'Star Wars' Sound Designers Reveal the Surprising Source of Kylo Ren's Force Effect

Supervising sound editor Matthew Wood and supervising sound editor and sound designer David Acord are the masterminds behind all the sound effects in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." During an interview with The Nerdist, they explained just how they created the sounds behind Kylo Ren's Force power, his mask, the rathtars and more.

"Off the top of my head, the Kylo Ren Force rumble -- the really chunky and animalistic rumble -- is my cat’s purring," Acord revealed. "It’s heavily pitched and slowed version of my cat’s purr that becomes Kylo Force rumble."

"The Force sound to go along with Kylo had that deep, raw, animalistic sound," he explained. "It’s a chunky, raw growl that’s supposed to imitate the Force power he wields, which is a little more raw versus Rey’s Force power , which tends to be -- in the few moments when she’s using the Force, hers is a little more smooth and rhythmic and like a heartbeat. That’s the contrast between the two."

"The thing about Kylo’s mask that was interesting is its function is purely intimidation because it’s not keeping him alive like Vader’s mask is. We wanted to find a way to capture that feeling," Wood added.

Acord also shared the strange source of another sound effect, saying, "When the rathtar has his mouth on the cockpit of the Falcon, when it’s trying to eat the cockpit, that is me literally choking myself. Finger down my throat in front of the mic to accomplish that and then it’s pitched down."

The rathtar isn't the only way Acord's voice made it into the film. As it turns out, he's also the voice behind FN-2199, known more widely on the Internet as TR-82." "Occasionally, you’ll just be working and, 'We need this guy to say this right now' and we’ll go record it. That’s another way; it’s on the spot. You find somebody that can do it, and you do it. That’s how FN-2199 happened. Originally, it was J.J. His voice was a temp placeholder, and he wanted to replace it. It went through four other actors, I think, before it landed on my performance and he was okay with it. It’s a really funny thing to me. It’s a cool scene; the stunt actor, Liang Yang, really did all the hard work in that scene, but it’s fun to be part of. I didn’t even know it was a thing on the Internet until Pablo Hidalgo emailed me and asked if he could post on StarWars.com that I was the voice of FN-2199."

Directed by J.J. Abrams, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” stars franchise veterans Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, joined by newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie and Max von Sydow. The film is now playing in theaters.

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