In one of the most intense scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is held captive by the First Order and is being interrogated by the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). As Ren attempts to extract information from her by using the dark side of the Force, Rey's own Force powers begin to awaken and she heroically stands her ground.
But the one thing fans probably didn't know about this moment was that the sound department used a purring cat named Pork Chop to make Kylo Ren's Force powers sound more threatening.
During a chat with supervising sound editor Matthew Wood at the SXSW Film Festival, where members of the Force Awakens production team were promoting a fantastic behind-the-scenes documentary due out on the film's upcoming Blu-ray, he let us in on this surprising little fun fact regarding Pork Chop.
"We were left with a scene that didn't have any John Williams music — and if you look at the scene, without sound it's really just two people looking at each other and motioning to one another," he says. "So we had to do this thing where we kept Kylo Ren's dark Force powers happening and then Rey's emerging Force powers coming to overtake that."
Woods went on to say how they tried a ton of different things with the scene, but that it ultimately came down to the "absence of sound" and, well, a purring cat. In order to show Rey gaining strength, they minimized the sound coming from Kylo Ren. And about the sound of Kylo Ren's dark Force powers…
"One of our sound designers David Acord used the sound of his purring cat, Pork Chop," Woods reveals. "That's where sound really makes a difference. George Lucas used to call sound 50 percent of our experience in a theater, and while we have John Williams to thank for a lot of the emotional content of our soundtrack, that was a moment where we got to shine."
Stay tuned for more from Woods and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett in advance of The Force Awakens arriving on Blu-ray April 5 and on Digital HD (including the just-announced FandangoNOW) on April 1.