Thread: Voice of Smaug
<<        >>
EDIT: You have a point there B'arelyn.
Now i knew as soon as i thought of this i would get replies sayign it's stupid because he did Dragonheart, but when i read the books now i honestly hear his voice when Bilbo talks to Smaug.
The only problem with this is that Sir Sean Connery is getting a bit to old now, but he is only doing voice acting and could easily do that in a studio in Britian.
Long story short my vote is for Sir Sean Connery
When he plays as Hannbial Lecter ,in those film series, his voice seem what i imagined Smaug to sound like.
It has the deep wickedness of the evil minded villain, but yet the distinct tone of age and expeience that i would think a dragon of Smaugs age, and reputation, should have.
The only flaw with Anthony Hopkins, that i can think of, is that i can not imagine his voice angry.
But I think that Anthony Hopkins is the best choice for Smaug.
P.S. I apologize if someone previously stated Anthony Hopkins, i didn't look back through the forum.
Ive gone through a lot of the posts here and I must say there are a lot of great suggestions ! I think that whoever does it might end up with the same sort of reaction that Andy Serkis received for his amazing interpretation of gollum ! As it seems PJ and GDT are going to give this character the full works, weta n all (as indeed they should) ! I think therefor, that it would be better for a lesser actor who would be asked to get fully into the role, not just the voice !The purist in me hopes for shades of glaurung and even morgoth or sauron in the portayal of the maleavolent smaug ! I'd hope then, to capture elements of all the afforementioned actors in a single new(ish) voice.
I guess if I had to choose a 'name' though, id go for christopher lee ! I think of him when I read morgoth !
Hail Manwe !
With just the right touch of cunning humor?
How about....Arnold Schwarzenegger!
(turns and runs from the pelting fruit).
When Smaug explodes in roaring flaming violence, it should be such a contrast to his earlier [i:qhsvjumb]seeming [/i:qhsvjumb]'sweet and witty reasonableness' that it blows the audiences heads off! The explosion should be sudden and frighteningly unexpected (especially to anyone who has not read the book, but to readers as well who might have been lulled by Del Toro into thinking this was a softer, more child friendly and less horrifying version of Smaug)!
Yes - Ian's the man for the job! Or another English theatre actor! Hey! How about Ian Holm? Now that would be ironic!
He's got an amazing range, and is so good at putting sophisticated slimy evil into his voice. To me he really comes at the top of the list - just look at his work in the Harry Potter movies. Think Snape with reverb.
[i:19ikq32v]HAS ANYONE SUGGESTED ALAN RICKMAN????[/i:19ikq32v] *slaps sides with laughter*
Not only is he my number one choice, but I suggested him waaaaaay back near the beginning of this thread and have been waging a campaign to convince everyone he is the perfect man for the job. At one point an unscientific poll suggested that I was having some success at this forum.
You should just browse through my posts on this thread. I have considered a few other actors, but Rickman remains my top pick for Smaug. Some of my other faves include Bill Nighy, Gary Oldman, Udo Kier, David Warner, Hugh Laurie, and Brad Dourif.
Ian McKellen is brilliant in any role, but his voice seems a bit plummy to me. He's TOO suave, TOO cool and collected (not unlike James Bond). He was the only really good thing about the recent Prisoner update as the villainous #2. And he certainly has the chops to be convincing as a suave villain (see also Magneto). But he still has that sense of British Reserve that would hamper an all-out deliciously evil performance. He's nowhere near as rigid as Patrick Stewart, but he always seems in control of his emotions. He doesn't have the unpredictable mercurial temperament that is the Hallmark of actors like Rickman and Oldman.
I think all the actors I've mentioned can match McKellen's sophistication, but they also are able to completely let go of their Reserve and Relish in Reptilian Malevolence.
How dare you!
No they're not!
(Sometimes I find your Liberalism severely testing Ol' Beard!)
And btw I prefer my dragon done [i:gsrrsvfq]understated[/i:gsrrsvfq] not [i:gsrrsvfq]overstated[/i:gsrrsvfq], thank you very much!
I did see Jeremy Irons recommended. Not bad, but I still think Rickman has the greater superciliousness, and the greater range of voice control. I hope Del Toro is reading.
Funny word, supercilious. I know what it means intuitively but I couldn't for the life of me define it.
Hah! Just looked it up to see what the pros did: they actually start with etymological reference to a raised eyebrow, then went to contemptuous, haughty. Almost there, and couldn't have done it without the raised eyebrow.
And Smaug [b:2vo1yohf][i:2vo1yohf]understated[/i:2vo1yohf][/b:2vo1yohf]??? Good Lord man, there is nothing understated about Smaug. In any case we've had Noble and Suave in Dragonheart, and Understated in Eragon. No, my dear friend , finally we have a chance to see a PROPER talking Dragon on-screen, and he needs to be as Florid as the book suggests. No namby pamby "understated" Dragons for me, no sir .
And thank you Halfwise, for noting my use of the word "supercilious" . Indeed, my above statement regarding the melding of Oily ("Slimy" Haughtiness/Contempt/Disdain, and Suavite is a good practical definition of Supercilious.
You guys are so far wrong it's not funny!
You're confusing Slimy with Sinuous! That's the only way I can explain you saying what you're saying! If you [i:38fgty1h]actually[/i:38fgty1h] mean what you say, you can't mean what you say, on the grounds of your diminished responsibility due to your Mental Incompetence! There! I said it! You're stark raving mad, the both of you! (PC or not? I don't care!)
Smaug with eyebrows? Preposterous!
Supercilious? It might be some kind of oil (sure sounds like it - Exxon probably to make matters worse!) but as Smaug was never Slimy [i:38fgty1h]or[/i:38fgty1h] Oily, or [i:38fgty1h]Slippery[/i:38fgty1h], this strange (possibly indefinable?) word obviously applies in no way to him! How can it? Smaug DOES NOT HAVE EYEBROWS! Supercilious! More like Super-silly-us! (GB and Halfwise, that is).
Sorry to be so firm with you lads, but it's better than taking the switch to you, surely? Life was simpler when we utilized the switch, I feel.
(What [i:38fgty1h]do[/i:38fgty1h] they teach young people at schools nowadays!?)
Odo, dear, benighted Odo...Smaug IS haughty. And the raised eyebrow is brought in simply to evoke the voice that goes with it. Having evinced the voice, the anthropomorphic scaffold that produced may then be removed. Any schoolboy can see that. You did learn about metaphor as a young lad, I hope? Same goes for slimy: it applies to the personality, NOT the body. I'd be very interested to meet a sinuous personality. (I've had the pleasure of meeting slinky personalities, but in the female sense, not the gollum sense).
You'd have a much happier life if you didn't take things so literally. May we hope your avatar will one day sport a smile? It's been looking rather grinchy of late.
Anyhow.... whether literal or not, I just can't see how you could film a metaphorical eyebrow. I frankly just think it can't be done! And if you plan to put eyebrows on a dragon... well, good luck to you - I just don't think it would work!(Though if Ian McKellen were to voice him, you could try his eyebrows! Interesting....)
Sinuous personality? Doesn't exist? Slinky personality? Does exist! Now there's a fair muddle (and possibly a puzzle!)
mmm.... Anyhow, I did not suggest that Smaug had a [i:3w0u2zwz]slinky[/i:3w0u2zwz] personality, nor did I suggest he had a [i:3w0u2zwz]slinky[/i:3w0u2zwz] body neither!
And pleeease! Enough with the metaphorical stuff. Next thing you'll slide into that morass sensible people call Inaninity, and pop up again all esoterical. That's a perilous road, Halfwise, if you decide to take it, and I warn you against doing it. (And don't complain to me if you end up being absolutely uninitelligible. You can't say you've not been warned!)
Yes... my avatar does look a bit grinchy... I hope it's not taking on a personality of it's own. That [i:3w0u2zwz]would[/i:3w0u2zwz] be unsettling!
Odo Fullwise Banks
To each their own . However, I do think Halfwise and I have made a good case for our views Odo, regardless of whether or not "Slimy" is in itself an applicable term for an aspect of Smaug's personality. Ultimately it is semantics. Clearly we have different visceral reactions to the use of the term "Slimy". But as Halfwise and I have defined it, it is completely in line with Tolkien's characterization of Smaug.
If it makes you feel better i'll stick with "Oily", "Disdainful", "Contemptuous", "Sneering", "Haughty", "Slippery", "Deceptive", "Supercilious",...etc. etc. as qualifiers for Suave (as applied to Smaug).
Nor can I agree with you when you say your views are in line with T's depiction of Smaug. They just aint! If you persist in this behavior I'll end up blowing my top and probably accuse you of being gormless! Tough love, I'd calll it! Now no one wants that, do they! No, not on such a polite forum as this! There'll be tears!
Pleeease go back and read it again (but not your American Abdriged and Americanized version! (I trust that's all you've read up to now! It would explain some of our misunderstandings if you only know the American bowlderized version...mm....yes, it would).
Go on... Don't sit there there at you keyboard thinking up some clever response... This is far too important an issue to be trivilialized with your clever and hirsute wit, Old Beard. Go on! Go and READ it!
Gee you test my patience sometimes, GB. No wonder I'm getting grinchy!
Is that clear enough?
The more we mention the word 'supercilious' though, the more I begin to giggle.... Isn't it, no matter what it means, a bit pompous? Like when Greens use the word 'paradigm' - not to mean anything, but to sound wise! (Not that there is anything wrong with being Green!)
'Flamefest'? Firedrakes? I am really giggling now. And it''s quite unbecoming in a grown up Stoor from Rushock Bog below Needlehole, thank you very much! We Banks usually 'chuckle' in a manly way and never 'giggle', or go on adventures neither... especially linguistic adventures! (Make you late for dinner!)
NB: "manly" = "man-like", but here meaning 'respectable grown-up Hobbit-like.'
NB Have you noticed that my avatar now looks like it's about to break out in a thin smile? Queer. ([i:32xl4bkf]Queer[/i:32xl4bkf] according to it's traditional meaning, that is!)
I also am coming to appreciate Odo's version of a rather storybookish tweedy dragon that suddenly turns on you with fire and a great snapping of jaws. Rather or not the malice is immediately obvious in the voice depends on how the reader first decided to imagine the voice, and I don't think such subtleties are clearly outlined in the book. I admit I can't imagine my favorite line "your information is antiquated!" being delivered correctly without a somewhat cartoonish voice.
So how about Mel Blanc, the guy who voiced the warner brother cartoons? It seems impious at first, but that guy could give life to any animated character, despite the fact he's dead.
This raises an interesting question, at least to me anyway. If Gandalf were to voice Smaug (with or without his eyebrows - perfectly good eyebrows - I make no judgments here!), and if, as even Peter Jackson suspected, Tolkien was Gandalf in many ways, and Ian Mc Kellen did Gandalf as Tolkien, he could do Smaug as Tolkien as well. You see, I do suspect Tolkien himself [i:1hi37z00]was[/i:1hi37z00] Smaug! I seem to recall that Smaug is very Gandalf-like in the way he speaks (very [i:1hi37z00]Tolkien[/i:1hi37z00]-like!!) (Sorry for the convoluted framing of the foregoing!)
I must go back and check all this out. (It might turn out that Ian Mc Kellen is now the [i:1hi37z00]only [/i:1hi37z00][b:1hi37z00]logical[/b:1hi37z00] choice!)
And no! I'm not saying Tolkien had an evil dragon inside him...
Though...he must have.... he created one didn't he?! And that dragon must have come from...inside..............!
If I'm not careful I'll go all Jungian on you... Did I just say [i:1hi37z00]Jungian[/i:1hi37z00].......
Oh Goodness me! Shush, Halfwise, don't tell GB I mentioned [i:1hi37z00]Jung[/i:1hi37z00]. He'll be all over this like a rash....!
And again, Alan Rickman has the range for all of this. Smaug has an overwhelming and somewhat kaleidoscopic personality.
Smaug in one of his sunnier moods may have a bit of Tolkien in him, but I can't imagine the good Don flying into a rage. I can't imagine Ian McKellan doing it either (despite the Shakespearian background). He could probably cover about 90% of Smaug.
Wonderful! You've got it, Eliza Dolittle, you've got it!
...But you know I could imagine Tolkien flying into a rage. He could go full-on Kevin RUDD-petulant, I reckon! Imagine Kev going all red in the face! Imagine Smaug going all read in the face! And they certainly have the same smugness!
Now for you folks who live in other lands and not the Blessed sun baked Land of Oz, Kevin RUDD is our pumped-up little martinet of a Prime Minister. Yeah, most of us don't know who he is either. (Our main opposition guy is a Chimpanzee). Kev is one of many reasons why Australians take out the switch when people bring up politics. Nasty business politics. Makes you angry at dinner!
Where was I?
Oh yes.... Halfwise, I was giving you a pat on the back for your thoughts on our school-masterly Smaug. Gold star, son! The way you're going, I'd vote for you to be involved in the making the movie! Providing, of course, you're not one of those blasted Tolkien Liberals who believe The White Council should be in the movie, or would have the songs taken out? You know, I'm becoming quite fond of you.
We get but one dialogue, and in a remarkable 5 pages we find a Smaug who sneers, scoffs, and snorts. He gloats, boasts, and snaps. He laughs and smiles to himself despite a wicked, wily heart; we find him mightily puzzled and absurdly pleased. Above all, he has a rather overwhelming personality.
At the risk of re-igniting the ire of Constable Odo, I can't see this as an understated performance. Nor should it be over acted, it should be a finely crafted delivery without a word or sneer cut out. We only get one chance at Smaug, and it should be exactly as Tolkien described.
The dragon never loses it, though he does go into a sort of roaring braggadicio at the suggestion of revenge being visited upon him. The spout of flame as Bilbo runs is not a sudden surprise.
I could see this done either by Sir Ian or Allen Rickman depending on personal preferences. McKellan would have to make sure he's got some sinister tones in his voice right from the outset; with Rickman this would come naturally.
But regarding McKellen: He is one of my all time favourite actors and while he has the mad skillz to pull off a villainous role, his villains thus far always seem to have an avuncular quality and good reasons for their Cause or behaviour. Smaug just doesn't have that kind of persona, and he doesn't in the least embody "understated".
But poor "Constable" Odo . He must feel as if the Ferengi and the Klingons have overrun space station DS9 . Blasted Heathens, he must be thinking .
We still love ya anyway Odo .
It is good to see you have done your research though. The 'understated' of which I spoke, is still apt. All the the aspects of personality you mention MUST be there. Of course they must! Do you take me for a fool? (Don't answer that!) I just don't want any of it 'overdone.' The real outburst of power I was referring to was when Smaug really cracks it when he finds his cup missing! But you're right to a point (you convicts!) about Smaug's violence[i:14lhtd36] not[/i:14lhtd36] being [i:14lhtd36]unexpected [/i:14lhtd36]in [i:14lhtd36]one[/i:14lhtd36] sense. Yes, the audience already know he's powerful and dangerous! I probably could have been clearer with my use of the word in the context I used it. I actually meant that when Smaug cracks it, the noise and violence and rage and fire is so sudden it makes the audience jump in shock, and though not exactly 'unexpected' in the simplest sense, the power of it all is 'unexpected' in the awesome abruptness of the outburst. As to the earlier scene when Bilbo gets his heels singed, to me that would manifest itself as a loud roar and a huge whoosh of fire being expelled. Exciting and frightening but nothing like the dragon's - filmotophically speaking - 'unexpected' explosion of rage and power when he finds his cup missing. (Don't bother looking up [i:14lhtd36]'filmotophically[/i:14lhtd36]', I just made it up. I think the language needs it. Tolkien would understand).
I see now that I'll have to explain very carefully everything I say, and not trust you convicts (I mean it kindly) to understand the subtleties of communication. I will also, henceforth, provide diagrams. (Cheap shot? Sarcasm? Darn tootin'! You can't really expect me to take an unfair demotion without some sort of negative response!)
NB 'This is is the second time I've been unfairly attacked in the last twenty four hours. Some convict on another forum said, seeing I was so negative about the movie, then why was I even on the forum. I politely replied that I was just trying to defend Tolkien Purism against Tolkien Liberalism (though not in those exact terms), and that hopefully the film adaptation would be more 'adaptation' than 'pro-creation'. I also plainly said that the White Council [i:14lhtd36]must not [/i:14lhtd36]be in the movie but that the songs [i:14lhtd36]should[/i:14lhtd36] be. You see, I will always choose Reason over Madness.(That other convict has not replied yet. I hope I'm not going to be thrown off that forum for being honest. Life does seem unfair sometimes. And I certainly pray you guys won't throw me off this forum for expressing my unadulterated courageous Wisdom. Sigh....)
It will be a wonderful bit of stage craft getting across what's going through Smaug's mind without words. I think when Bilbo picks up the cup it has to fit in some very obvious niche, so when Smaug glances in that direction it's very conspicuous by its absence.
(quiet yet faintly menacing music playing as Smaug wakes up, yawns and stretches. Then the sweeping pan around the chamber, passing languidly over the empty niche, suddenly snapping back to focus on the empty niche. The Cup...THE CUP!! Blare of trumpet and roll of tympanis: Smaug writhing and snarling in rage - gathering himself like a cat for a leap and hurtling out the gates....)
If anything a restrained, brooding and faintly menacing Smaug during the Bilbo conversation will be a jarring contrast to the explosive Smaug that came before. The reverse doesn't fit the story's chronology.
Anyway, if 'constable' is a demotion from the true Odo, perhaps we should refer to you as Sheriff Odo? Add a feather to the avatar and we'll be all set.
Luckily, my basic premise remains true though. We can hear Smaug go crazy - build the suspense for later. Then Bilbo actually speaks to Smaug. After that, Smaug can throw his wobbly, singe Bilbo's heels, and fly off as fierce as a dragon in a pinch! The 'outbreak' we see can still be filmographically [i:xk200j49]'unexpected' [/i:xk200j49]- and SHOULD be!
You know, I wish I'd reread the offending chapter in The Hobbit! It would have saved me trying to back-off, circle around my enemies, and try to attack from behind! Oh well! War is Hell, they say...! Not that this is War... oh no....perish the thought! - And to think - I've probably read The Hobbit thirty or more times!
Apparently Odo, your opponent at the other forum has no argument. People without anything to back their arguments up will often resort to "well what are you doing on this forum then?". I spent a month and a half at The Prisoner Forum taking down the 2009 "Reboot" piece by piece with solid arguments and clear demonstrations of Propagandist Directorial Intent and Agenda. The other team only had "Oh it's merely mediocre, you're over-analyzing. Why do you even bother?". Well my team "won" the day, because in the end they had no real arguments.
You, Sir Odo, have a great argument and plenty of ammo to back it up. Some of the distinctions we are making in the current Smaug debate are more semantic than anything. So I may differ with you on some points, but they are minor and I don't take them too seriously. And I do try and find points of common ground. The only debates I take seriously are political ones.
Keep up the good fight Odo .
PS: We crossed posts Odo, so this post is a response to your previous post. But my sentiment remains the same. You Sir, are an honourable debater.
You know, I think that if someone like you was in a room full of all the world's leaders, you'd discuss things, negotiate civilly, make (proper) comprises where necessary, and end up with a rock solid plan (though not perfect) that all parties could live with, and the world would end up a far better place.
If I was in that room, I'd fight to the last to get my way. Yes, I have strong views on the betterment of the world and how to go about it! Other people's ideas, of course, are faulty and must not be given in too! We all know that! ([i:1mhs4ii3]Deep down[/i:1mhs4ii3], we know they're faulty... come on... we know it!)