CT Any background info on James Earl Jones' TESB performance?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by grd4, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. grd4 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2013
    star 1
    I've long considered Jones's vocal performance in Empire among the very best in cinema. The robotic overtones of the original gave way to a decidedly more human terror, his intonations deriving not from a machine but from Hell itself. There's a horribly evil reverberation to everything that comes out of that mouthpiece. (Just compare a choice bit like "I am ALTering the deal; pray I do not alter it any furrrtherrrr" to anything in ANH/ROTJ/ROTS. The delivery is bordering on the sensual.)

    My question: Does anyone have background information as to how Kershner, Jones and the crew fine-tuned this distinct performance?
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  2. sharkymcshark Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2013
    star 3

    There's a bit on it towards the end of TESB's director's commentary track (it's located somewhere from the end of the Vader duel through to their escape into hyperspace)

    After filming Kershner recorded all Vader's dialogue himself to give Jones an indication of the kind of pace, tone and inflection he was after, which was then sent to Jones to listen to before recording the actual dialogue.
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  3. BigAl6ft6 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 5
    Jones is great in ESB, the voice definitely sounds deeper with just the FX they threw at it (Vader's voice in ANH actually seems to get progressively deeper as it goes on), but the line delivery is pretty masterful, it's a lot more drawn out, slower, deliberately menacing. If you watch ROTJ right after ESB, they threw some different FX at it so "you may dispense with the pleasantness commander!" sounds like he's coming out of a scuba tank compared to ESB. (There's definitely a lot more emotional shading to his ROTJ performance, as opposed to the straightforward villain of ANH and the hellspawn demon on ESB, which befits the place the character is at in that film.)
    Last edited by BigAl6ft6, Mar 11, 2014
  4. Among the Clouds Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2001
    star 4
    I prefer Vader's voice in ESB than the other films. I think it's a bit deeper in ROTJ, but the inflection isn't quite the same. That being said, I always thought Vader sounds a bit pirate-y in ESB. :p
  5. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7

    Some lines in ANH are pretty drawn out and deep toward the end-

    "She may yet be of some use to us"
    "This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Kenobi. It will soon see the end of the Rebellion"
    "I have you now"

    but the general point is sound.
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  6. oierem Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    If I'm not mistaken Jones recorded all the lines in one day -not too much time to fine-tune it.

    He did go for a different way of saying the lines than in ANH (he sounds less emotional,cooler), but a lot of the differences come from the added reverb and effects.
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  7. Garrett Atkins Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 11, 2013
    star 4
    I loved him in ROTJ best because you could almost feel Anakin coming through the mask.
  8. BigAl6ft6 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 5
    yeah, my no-way-to-back-it-up theory is that James Earl Jones basically came in for ANH, did practically all of Vader's dialogue in order, and good ole "one take" Lucas used whatever JEJ started with but by the end of the recording session he had wrapped his head around how he wanted to deliver it, but the recording session was over by then. When he sits down for ESB, he has a general sense of what he's going to do.
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  9. Matthew_Wolverine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2002
    star 4

    Check out Swashbuckler(1976) if you haven't. JEJ plays a pirate.