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TRCH The Da Vinci Code

Sound Designer Luke Gentry on His Work on Aladdin and Teaming Up With Tom Cruise

25 August 21 interview: George White
photos: Luke Gentry

From video-calling Tom Cruise to working on blockbusters like Aladdin and The Gentlemen, Luke Gentry has had a hell of a career since graduating from Confetti just over 10 years ago. We chat to the Sound Designer about his role, his route into film and his thoughts on the movie everyone loves to hate, 2019’s Cats

What does the job of a Sound Designer involve? 
Essentially, it’s about realising the sonic wants and needs of the director. That might be focusing on the overall theme and style, but it can also mean being the person that is designing sounds that don't exist, like monsters and spaceships and futuristic weapons and all those wonderful things. 

How do you go about creating brand new sounds that haven’t been heard before? 
You have to try and be really imaginative, even with more mundane sounds. Recently I recorded my baby crying and thought, ‘This could work for a monster.’ There are lots of weird things you can use to help support the story. On Aladdin, I wanted to help the film feel a bit more young and fresh, so I recorded a beatboxer and used some of the more explosive percussive sounds every time the Genie pops in and out. 

When did you realise this was the career path you wanted to follow?
I heard about Confetti and their courses in music technology. They offered a tiny module focusing on sound for film, where I found out you have to replace everything like feet movements, dialogue, the sound of the air. I was blown away that people did this stuff as a job and that really opened the door for me. 

You graduated from Confetti back in 2008. How was your experience there?
It was such a special place and a special time. All the resources that I had at my disposal and the talent of the staff were incredible. I owe them my career for the start they gave me. I've got a lot of love for Confetti and everybody that works there.

I defy anyone to not be starstruck when watching a movie next to Tom Cruise

You’ve had an amazing career since then, working on several big-budget movies. Which has been your favourite so far? 
Not to be too cheesy but Aladdin was a dream come true. I loved the 1992 Aladdin growing up - I’d play it on loop time and time again. I knew all the songs, the whole shebang, and I'm a massive Disney fan in general. So it was just mind-blowing to work on that film, which means so much to so many people, including myself. 

One of the first major productions you worked on was Edge of Tomorrow. What was that like? 
I was really just starting out - I felt like a baby on that show. I was fresh into the game and I was working with some giants of film, and I even got to review the sound with Tom Cruise in London. I defy anyone to not be starstruck when watching a movie next to Tom Cruise. That really inspired me to keep pushing on and get further up the ladder. 

One of your films that stands out for a number of reasons is Cats, which had a bit of a... mixed response. What was your reaction to the audience reaction?
I don't think the feedback it received was entirely fair, but people have an outlet now to have their opinions heard. And I think that’s healthy - it's nice to know when you've done well, and it's nice to know when you've not done that great. I think it's just part of the modern filmmaking process.

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