Disney’s The BFG follows a young girl, Sophie, as she is introduced to Giant Country. Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the film is filled with storybook whimsy and magic – something supervising sound designer Gary Rydstrom was responsible for bringing into the sounds of the giants.
“The BFG catches dreams, so we had to figure out what that would mean to give them a sound and a personality,” Rydstrom tells The Hollywood Reporter.
For example, when the giant (played by Academy Award winner Mark Rylance) approaches the London orphanage to snatch up Sophie, Rydstrom says his footsteps were edited from sonic booms of aircrafts breaking the sound barrier, but deepened to make them seem more menacing.
“Spielberg himself had a lot of ideas, for instance to hum like a bumblebee but have vocalizations based on whether they were happy or sad or scary,” Rydstrom says. “We recorded a lot of kids playing, laughing, and various things that could sound like the humming of a dream that’s flying around. The dreams in the movie were spilt from happy to nightmares. The nightmares were electrical and snappy and awful, and happy dreams were ‘hummy’ and pleasant and playful.”
Rydstrom and his crew, including sound mixer Andy Nelson, supervising sound editor Richard Hymns and production sound mixer Ronald Judkins, were also put in charge of creating their own original sounds for Snozzcumbers, the unpleasant vegetables. The sound they created was recorded from chopping up rotten vegetables.
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And then there’s the Whizzpoppers – aka, giant farts.
“How many times in your career do you get to do fart jokes?” Rydstrom says. “We got to a point where they were very cartoony, that made Spielberg happy and laugh.
“To record it, we bought weather balloons and inflated them; we basically made big whoopie cushions. And we’d lean on them like a bean bag chair.”