The August Issue of Mix Magazine is available for download. It contains a detailed article on the sound of SALT, which you can see online in Mix Online:
There’s been no shortage of action movies over the past couple of decades, with dozens of subgenres proliferating to satisfy the audience’s appetite for war, worldwide destruction, comic books, videogames, legal procedure, historical epic, serial killers, mistaken identity or underdogs fighting the good fight against all odds. But it’s a relatively short list when looking through the legacy of intelligent, character-driven action-thrillers, in the vein of Three Days of the Condor, The French Connection, The Fugitive and the Bourne franchise.
Australian director Phillip Noyce entered the club with his smart, story-driven Jack Ryan films, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger from the early ’90s. Now he’s back, and he’s hurtling through modern-day spy territory—practically ripped from today’s Soviet spy exchange headlines—with Angelina Jolie on the run in Sony Pictures’ summer blockbuster Salt.
“My first reaction, on seeing an early cut, was, ‘Wow!’” recalls Greg P. Russell, effects re-recording mixer from the Kim Novak Theatre on the Sony lot in mid-July. “It’s exciting, well-paced, authentic and realistic. The action is believable, and it’s a solid story, really solid, with twists and turns that kept me guessing through to the end. And I loved the Salt character. Unique and clever, smart and bold. Angelina Jolie does such a great job with this role, and the film is filled front to back with incredible sound opportunities.”
From left: Igor Nikolic, first sound assistant; Scott Millan music mixer; Philip Stockton, supervising sound editor; Jeffrey J. Haboush, dialog mixer; Deborah Wallach, ADR supervisor; Phillip Noyce, Director; Greg P. Russell, effects mixer, Paul Hsu, supervising sound Editor; Joe E. Rand, music editor Photo: Tom Burns
Russell was joined at the Harrison MPC by Jeff Haboush on dialog, a mixer he’s teamed with on and off for nearly 27 years, and Scott Millan, a veteran of the Bourne films and a hit man brought in to handle music. In essence, it was a return to the three-person crew that was the norm not so long ago in Hollywood. Noyce called the track the most complex in his career, and his vision was established clearly from the beginning.
“On day one, Phillip laid out the game plan,” Russell recalls. “Story and character were key, and everything we did in the soundtrack had to support her story. She is a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy, and she’s on the run trying to clear her name. So all the tension that we feel, whether it’s coming from effects and high-octane car chases and bullet whiz-bys, or the group dialog with its precise, story-specific lines, or the music with its big brass and intense rhythms—we need to feel that threat she is experiencing throughout the film. He laid it out in a way that we were on the same page from the first temp dub.”