Four-time Oscar winner Ben Burtt has crafted and created sounds we all know—from the heavy-breathing of Darth Vader to the pops and squeaks of R2D2, not to mention the voices of WALL-E and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He’s been obsessed with sounds since he was a boy and has never lost that passion, which comes through in everything he does—including this interview with two of his biggest fans, Leonard and Jessie. (Did someone say Wilhelm?)
Since starring in the hit American TV series The Guardian and The Mentalist, Australian-born Simon Baker has returned to his homeland and made two pet projects: the surfing drama Breath (which he also directed and co-wrote) and High Ground, which is now playing in theaters and On Demand. Filmed in remote and spectacular locations, it’s about a culture clash involving Aboriginal tribes and the colonizing forces of the UK—and it’s quite good. It also features the figurehead of Australian cinema, Jack Thompson, in a co-starring role. Simon discussed why these projects mean so much to him in this thoughtful conversation with Leonard and Jessie.
Bob Balaban’s resumé is filled with milestones: he shares an unforgettable scene with Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy, plays Francois Truffaut’s interpreter in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and is part of the Christopher Guest ensemble (Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show) and the Wes Anderson repertory group (Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel). He writes, directs, and shares an Oscar nomination as a producer of Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of a fascinating life and career, which Jessie and Leonard were happy to explore.