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LITTLE VOICE

One Cast, Many Voices
Jim Cartwright had written "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice" with Jane Horrocks in mind because he knew of her rare gift for impersonations, both vocal and sung

Jim Cartwright had written "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice" with Jane Horrocks in mind because he knew of her rare gift for impersonations, both vocal and sung. When he found himself enchanted by the story of a repressed young woman who seeks refuge in other people's voices, he knew right away the character was heaven-sent for Horrocks.

Mark Herman realized from the start that the film would not be the same without Horrocks' touch. "LITTLE VOICE is Jane's baby," comments Herman. "I wouldn't be doing the film without her. She has lived with the character for so many years it is a part of her. Happily, she had trust in me as a filmmaker and knew that I wanted to protect what the story is about."

Adds Elizabeth Karlsen: "What makes her so perfect is that she is physically very tiny, with this wonderful, childlike face and haircut - yet out of this fragile figure comes this unbelievably huge voice."

Horrocks explains her hallmark character as "a simple, humble and unprecocious girl on the verge of an awakening." She continues: "I think LV and her father were two little quiet people who enjoyed listening to old records. Since his death, her mother has hurt her so much that their relationship has gone beyond forgiveness. LV has to escape before she can develop as a person."

Making the transformation from meek homebody to night-club ingenue was an even bigger challenge on the screen for Horrocks than it was on the stage. Early on, the filmmakers made a bold decision to shoot Little Voice's singular musical performance entirely live, instead of recording the vocal tracks and synching them with her stage show.

"A lot of the magic that was created in the theatre version was through the incredible live performance of Jane Horrocks, watching that happen before your very eyes," says Mark Herman. "Even on stage, a lot of people left the theatre wondering if she really sang all those different voices herself. So we thought it was very important that no one think there was any trick to it. I thought it had to feel like it was happening in the here and now. Technically, it was extremely difficult, but it definitely paid off."

"After having seen what Jane is capable of, I knew it was possible," adds Elizabeth Karlsen. "That sequence really fits in with the raw immediacy that is so much a part of the film. We didn't want something over-produced or too showy. It had to be all Little Voice. And even though it was a difficult and challenging process, Jane was doggedly focussed, hard-working and of course extraordinarily talented."

"Singing live is a very rare thing in film," admits Horrocks, "but the audience had to absolutely believe Little Voice is doing it. And if for a second they think that it's not really happening, you've lost the whole piece."

Despite her much-lauded gift for mimicry, Horrocks worked with a singing teacher for six weeks prior to filming to hone her impersonations even further. "I approached the singing in a more detailed way for the film," she explains. "We went through the songs line by line so we would get every single little inflection as close to the original as possible. Through this process, I found the essence of each of the singers even more." Horrocks also worked with a choreographer for the main club act scene. "I really felt like I was very in tune with each of the differe

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