Sam Witwer Part 2: The Star Wars Universe
Sam launches us into the STAR WARS universe immediately with an awesome taste of his voice work as Palpatine (both in Chancellor and Emperor mode), which soon branches into a deeper discussion of how Sam approaches the character in his own original ways. Sam also delves into the creative side of voice acting, how he molds his sound-alike assignments to the script rather than simply imitate the actor who originated the role.
While Part 2 of our episode with Sam Witwer talks at length about STAR WARS, his insights into voice acting apply to screen acting as well as the work all boils down to character building. Sam tells a fascinating story about how he built up the character and voice of the Son, an original character created in the Mortis arc of episodes in THE CLONE WARS: ultimately blending aspects of multiple villain characters to give a unique but familiar voice to the Son. Sam and the DDG also have lots of laughs discussing the ridiculous deaths of video game characters and the silly sounds voice actors create to kill them off at the click of your controller.
Sam offers some fascinating insights into George Lucas as a storyteller, and how Lucas being tired of making STAR WARS movies prompted him to tell tales of Jedi and Sith in an entirely different format by creating THE CLONE WARS animated series. Our discussion also taps into the non-canon “demise” of Expanded Universe fiction as the Star Wars Legends line with the creation of the Lucasfilm Story Group — which continues to borrow and rework EU story facts and situations in a way that unifies current STAR WARS fiction with the films more directly.
It’s not all STAR WARS talk in Part 2 with Sam, though! This episode also takes a fun detour into discussion of MAD MAX: ROAD WARRIOR which speaks to a larger discussion with Sam about fandom in general, and fan expectations (including Sam’s) of these mythic, larger-than-life story franchises.
Our listeners have long awaited Part 2 of our podcast with popular, prolific actor Sam Witwer, but we hope you’ll agree that the wait was worth the wait! Between detailed discussions of STAR WARS, voice acting for animation and video games, and fandom in general, once again Sam Witwer knocks a Damn Dirty Geeks’ podcast out of the park. Enjoy!
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Trivia: As mentioned in the DDG’s discussion with Sam Witwer about performing screams in his voice acting work, here’s more info on the mentioned and notable Wilhelm Scream. Hollywood history and lore credits the 1951 western film DISTANT DRUMS for debuting the Wilhelm Scream, an often used sound effect from the Warner Brothers audio library. This now-famous movie scream is credited to Sheb Wooley (known best for his novelty song The Purple People Eater) as performing the anguished yell as a series of such sound effects used in the film’s battle scenes. Woolly’s scream is so distinctive to the ear because of the extreme vocal range it spans in a short time, making it stand out to film viewers who recognize it even in the most spectacular movie battles. The Wilhelm Screams has appeared in sound mixes for hundreds of films in the years since, perhaps most popularized by sound designer Ben Burtt who uses the scream in most films he works on for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. To hear the scream and see its use in films, view the YouTube links below.
SamWitwer.com – visit the official website of Sam Witwer and his band The Crashtones
The Force Unleashed – YouTube trailer for the LucasArts video game that introduced Sam Witwer’s character, Starkiller
The Force Unleashed II – YouTube trailer for the LucasArts video game sequel also starring Sam Witwer as Starkiller
Return of Darth Maul – YouTube trailer announcing Darth Maul’s appearance on STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS
We Are Sith – YouTube clip featuring Sam Witwer’s performance as Darth Maul on STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS
Emperor Palpatine – YouTube clip featuring Sam Witwer as Palpatine and James Earl Joneas as Vader in STAR WARS REBELS
Ben Burtt – YouTube clip of RAIDERS sound designer Ben Burtt on including the Wilhelm Scream in films
Wilhelm compilation – YouTube video compiling usage of the the Wilhelm Scream over decades of films