One of the things I've noticed is that people never sit for the credits at a premiere, and that was doubly true last night at “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” I think everyone was probably worried about getting their checked phones back and getting over to the party. I have been a credits reader since I was a kid, though, and honestly, half the time I'm not even sure why. I just read the credits and occasionally find little bits of gold there.
For example, it's kind of astonishing to me that there were 5500 people at the screening last night, and no one has published anything today about my favorite credit: “BB-8 Vocal Consultant.” I had to reach out to the person whose name jumped out at me because, until now, I hadn't heard a single thing about them or their involvement with this film.
One might think that BB-8's “voice” would simply be created in the same way that R2-D2's was, with the outstanding sound team on the film following in Ben Burtt's footsteps. Instead, this is how comedian/actor/omnipresent film personality Bill Hader described his work on the film to me today when I asked him what “vocal consultant” consisted of:
“JJ f**king around with this sound effects app on his iPad that was attached to a talk box operated by me. It looked ridiculous but it made BB-8's voice. At first I tried doing a voice, but we all agreed it sounded too human.”
Wow. That is not what I would have expected. Hader's been everywhere lately, and his work on this season of “South Park” has been particularly funny. He was in “Inside Out,” of course, and he was excellent in “Trainwreck.” If nothing else, Hader is emerging as one of the most versatile guys out there, and now he's secured his corner in the geek firmament as well. Ben Schwartz, known to many for his stellar work as Jean-Ralphio on “Parks and Recreation,” was also credited as a “BB-8 Vocal Consultant,” so I guess they both contributed to the final version of what we hear onscreen. I saw Schwartz at the premiere but didn't get to talk to him about it. Still… what an amazing combination to help bring this lovable new character to life.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens everywhere within days. Holy crap.