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

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

  1. grd4

    grd4 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 11, 2013
    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?
    Rainbow Knight Star likes this.
  2. sharkymcshark

    sharkymcshark Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 12, 2013

    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.
    Rainbow Knight Star likes this.
  3. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 6

    Nov 12, 2012
    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.)
  4. Among the Clouds

    Among the Clouds Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 18, 2001
    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

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012

    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.
    Rainbow Knight Star likes this.
  6. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    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.
    Rainbow Knight Star likes this.
  7. Garrett Atkins

    Garrett Atkins Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 11, 2013
    I loved him in ROTJ best because you could almost feel Anakin coming through the mask.
  8. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 6

    Nov 12, 2012
    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.
    Rainbow Knight Star likes this.
  9. Matthew_Wolverine

    Matthew_Wolverine Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 25, 2002

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