PETER WEIR: TOWARDS THE CENTRE
Interview by Tom Ryan and Peter McFarlaine, Cinema Papers
Central to most of Peter Weir's films is the attempt to move beyond
the surface strata of behaviour, beyond what is readily percieved, to a
realm of experience that is equally 'real' but less tangible. In this sense
his work reveals a strong impulse towards the abstract, towards the collapse
of the forms of the everyday into a stream of "sights and sounds and colors...closer
to music". This impulse generally belongs to the practitioners of a particular
kind of experimental film, yet here it is firmly rooted in the methods
of traditional narrative cinema. The sense of the strange which is evoked
in 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' or 'The Last Wave' is initially a creation
of a narrative arrangement that refuses to explain itself, that denies
its viewers access to ready-made explanations. Like Tom (Tony Llewellyn-Jones)
in the former film, the viewer might dwell on the old way: "There's a solution
somewhere. There's gotta be!" But part of the pleasure of these films lies
in the way in which they refuse such expectations of an easy satisfaction.
The apparent realism of their fictions is insistently challenged, and
enriched, by the intrusion of incidents which disturb a familiar order.
Like his characters, the viewers of Weir's films are repeatedly faced with
the mysteries of the moment, experiences that refuse to succumb to the
kinds of patterns imposed by conventional understanding. The films seems
to hover as if on the edge of a dream-world, or a place of nightmares,
and while Weir's work since 'The Cars that Ate Paris' certainly cannot
be classified in the realm of 'horror' film, at least according to the
customary use of the label, nonetheless they share this element in common
with them. They are pervaded by the inexplicable, by the sense of awe imbedded
in a fleeting glimpse of an unknown terrain, an incursion beyond the looking-glass.
The look which guides the viewer is often that of a character - Michael
(Dominic Gurad) as he gazes in wonderment at the "Botticelli angels" in
'Picnic at Hanging Rock', David Burton (Richard Chamberlain), fearful of
his vision of 'the last wave', or Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson)
faced by the floating funfair of the threatening shore in Gallipoli. But
the starting point is always the everyday, for without that, the films'
'other' dimension would have no context, no point of entrance for the viewer.
The characters who inhabit this territory of the familiar seem to exist
outside of psychology, archetypes of the common person, their individual
features serving as particular aspects of "the greater whole". Their path
through the films leads them towards a confrontation with nothing less
than their destiny (the rock, the wave, gallipoli via the pyramids), beyond
the repressions of a Victorian education, beyond the comforts of middle-class
Sydney, beyond the constraints of an Australia isolated from all but an
impression of the rest of the world.
- Tom Ryan
Through your films it is possible to get a sense of somebody who is
particularly aware of the expectations of his audience and able to play
around with those expectations. When you are making a film, how conscious
are you of the audience?
Very conscious. Itís very important for me to be constantly asking
myself, in the scripting process or during the shoot, what the audience
will understand from this or that, and what it will expect as a consequence.
I feel at liberty to play around to the extent that I can control what
I want them to know or feel at any given point. And I guess I like to keep
them a step behind or to subvert their expectations.
What you say has echoes of what Alfred Hitchcock used to say about the
audience. Do you share his black humour?
Itís difficult to see things in any broad view like that; but no, I
donít think so. Iíve seen reviews of some of my films which have seen them
in terms of black humour, but I donít think thatís accurate. I suppose
it depends on the way you see things. Maybe bizarre or strange, but I prefer
words like enigmatic, curious and fascinating. When I think about humour,
I donít break things down into ďblackĒ or anything else. I remember the
word ďsickĒ being used in a review of a couple of sketches I did in my
university days, but thatís a long time ago.
Would you like to make comedy?
Yes. I have an idea for a comedy Iíd like to do. My beginnings in this
whole business really where in comedy, as a writer-performer in university
revue-type things. I am a great Monty Python fan and I remember John Lennon
saying that instead of being born a Beatle, heíd rather have been born
a Monty Python. I wouldnít have minded that. I love their humour. They
may not be on the screens this week, but their humour is in the air. I
shot a commercial with John Cleese and we struck up a sort of friendship.
We talked about doing something together some day.
To what extent do you see yourself as an Ďauteurí, as the controlling
influence over your films?
I do see myself as exercising a control, but I am not sure what that
really tells us. I think the word auteur has become devalued and we must
put it aside. it was a very useful word during the late 1950s and Ď60s,
when the cinema was so polarised, but with the great changes in the 1970s
and Ď80s I donít think it is so useful.
In a sense, the most anonymous work you would have done would have been,
probably, the earlier work you did for television. How did you get involved
in ďLukeís KingdomĒ?
I was broke after finishing Cars That Ate Paris and there was an awful
moment when I didnít know if I could get any work. I contacted the ABC
drama department and asked if they knew of me; a guarded ďyesĒ was the
answer. So I said, ďlook, Iíve a couple of short stories Iíve written.
Iíd like to talk to you about developing them into something.Ē I got a
very quick ďnoĒ on that one. They werenít interested. I donít know if things
Much is made of the landscape as a powerful force in the series...
So , I was very glad when Lukeís Kingdom turned up. I did two episodes
and, once I had accepted the terms of the way it was made, I enjoyed it.
There were really two directors: the producer, Tony Essex, and the director
of the episode. Tony directly controlled the scripting and the cutting
room. I think I accepted that as a challenge: to see what I could do, two
hands behind my back. And, of course, I had no control over the casting
or the music. I think I was successful in certain sequences, but it was
Tonyís show. I was able to experiment, however, and Tony encouraged it.
He was more a director than a producer and he didnít care about the budget.
he didnít care about excess and he even encouraged it.
Whether it was a very good thing or not I donít know, but it was his
vision and I thought, in accepting the money, I really had to try and execute
his intentions. So it wasnít really me there.
Yes. I thought heíd chosen a great location on the banks of the Turron
River out of Sofala. It was a country I knew of course from Cars, which
I had shot in Sofala. In fact, I remembered driving to the location with
a car full of actors in period costume and passing the rusty wrecks of
Holdens in the backyards of Sofala homesteads. It was a pleasure to get
back into country to which I had already responded.
Several ideas seem to run through your work, like the one of the ordinary
man constantly being under the threat of the extraordinary or the one of
the rational man being pushed into areas where rationality wonít serve
him any more. Are they ideas that interest you?
But Tony also duplicated a location on Smokey Dawsonís Ranch in Sydney.
I didnít get the same feeling from that kind of scrubby, city bushland
on the edge of the city as Iíd got from the Turron country. There is something
unpleasant about a lot of countryside around Sydney, I think.
They did interest me, particularly in The Last Wave. I think
my films are a kind of quest for me even though I donít consciously think
about it when I am making them. When I face questions about unreality,
the bizarre, black humour, any of these areas, I feel the labels are often
the wrong way around. The great black joke is that we agree on a certain
reality thatís to me plainly full of holes, with great gaps of reason.
One issue you rarely tackle is the question of sex. Why is that?
I donít know. I think eroticism has been present in my films and itís
an area I find interesting. But I think the subjects of sex is dwarfed
by larger questions. I prefer Jung to Freud. I think Freud was a dazzling,
original thinker, but I donít feel his theory was ever tested because it
was submerged in a moral debate. It was really never fully explored or
talked about, because the key issues were lost in the way moral and religious
issues were allowed to interfere.
ďPicnic at Hanging RockĒ is a film which is very interesting in its
exploration of a sort of smothered sexuality in an environment which represses
But Iím more inspired by Jung. For him, sex was a part of the great
whole and, in that way, I think sexuality is in my work. I direct with
my body: I use my sexuality to direct. I have explored the masculine and
feminine in my own personality to direct actors and actresses, and thatís
meant they must explore their duality too. In this way I think Iíve gained
from Jung. When I talk about him, by the way, I must say I have not studied
the major body of his work. I have only read the popular works, those half
a dozen volumes he wrote for people like me. But it was enough to find
some computability and to expand my mind.
I was never really interested in that side of the film. I didnít see
it as a part of its theme. I remember when I went to London for the promotion,
that that was the area which most interested the British critics. Comments
ranged from talk of repressed sexuality to the less subtle, talking about
lesbianism and so on. But it didnít interest me. For me, the grand theme
was Nature, and even the girlís sexuality was as much a part of that as
the lizard crawling across the top of the rock. They were part of the same
whole: part of larger questions.
Itís interesting that you donít feel it to be more important, because
it does seem very intelligently worked out through the film. For instance,
there are kinds of contrasts you set up between the attitudes of those
influenced by Victorian education - the girls and the teachers - and those
of the servant, Minnie, and her boyfriend, Tom. Also, there is the contrast
between Albert the groom, who makes fairly crude comments about the girls
as they go up the rock, and the inhibited, more Ďchivalrousí response of
Michael. I think you can trace that sort of thing through the film...
Perhaps, but that kind of approach is quite foreign to me. The words
and analytical thinking, which come from your side of the table, represent
something I have unlearned. It is a tool that I was brought up with through
my education, something I was trained to use and something I have found
I didnít want to use or live with. I am not trying to imply something mystical,
simply that to use words like this, is very distant for me. I think what
I have done in my own sort of personality course over the past 15 years
is what enables me to make films, or to make them my way, and I think this
sort of approach gets in the way. Of course, I sat with Cliff Green and
worked things out, and that was a necessary process to get something on
to paper, something an audience can understand - a blueprint for the film.
Perhaps it would have been easy to talk about this closer to the film,
but now, as I am left with a horde of images from that film, itís only
the way I began the film, or began thinking about it.
The scenes that seemed to matter in the film were not the ones of the
girls going up the rock so much as those of earthy, more human behaviour
- like those ones between Minnie and Tom, which give a context to the rest.
Here are people behaving like people, and not like those who have been
victims of a certain kind of education...
Itís an interesting part of the balance, but it didnít interest me
then, just as it doesnít now. In the film, what interested me were other
areas: sounds, smells, the way hair fell on shoulders, images - just pictures.
One of the things that is said about your films, and you say it too,
is that they avoid politics in the broad sense of the term. Yet in ďPicnic
at Hanging RockĒ, you have a very political situation: there is a certain
sort of education, a certain class structure, that the film seems to deal
I found it very interesting as an Australian whose origins were in
the British Isles, to use the film to sort of wander through the ruins
of the class system. And then I went back to that from another angle with
The Plumber: to look at class in contemporary terms, to what we might have
become in our society where we donít seem to have such a clear working-class,
middle-class, aristocracy thing.
David Hare, the British dramatist, has talked about why he thinks it
is important to deal with historical subjects rather than contemporary
ones, arguing that by looking back, you can see a process of change. You
can identify shifts in a way you canít if you look at the present, where
you are submerged in this mass of apparently contradictory information...
Yes, that is if your interest lies in a clear line between the two.
Again I think it comes back to concepts, on the way you see things. A question
that is often asked is, ďWhy are you filmmakers so concerned with the past?
Why are you making so many period pictures? What we need are contemporary
films that are relevant.Ē But to me, that just never was the question.
Past, present or future - they are all relevant, at least as far as filmmaking
From ďThe Cars That Ate ParisĒ onwards, almost all your films, at least
as far as your comments are reported, are conceived from a personal incident,
and you seem to have rejected ďThe Thorn BirdsĒ because you couldnít get
involved. How important is that personal incident as a starting point?
Since I've become aware that I do this, I am attempting to stop. If
something becomes self-conscious and you are continuing to do it, you are
just acting yourself out.
One of the credits for "The Last Wave" reads "based on an idea by Peter
Weir". Does this idea come from the stone head you picked up in Tunisia?
The Last Wave was, in a sense, that externalising a feeling that
came from picking up a head in Tunisia, and the bottle [Eno Salts] that
I picked up, among other items, at Gallipoli. But now having done interviews
where these things have been photographed and looked at. It is as if for
Year of Living Dangerously I will have to go and collect something
in Indonesia, which is absolutely absurd.
Nevertheless, that kind of connection with a story is important for
me; a feeling that it is somehow a part of me - that I am part of the process
of the film.
In this particular incident in Tunisia, we had stopped at some Roman
ruins and I had a kind of premonition. The driver was tooting the horn
of the car to make us hurry back, but I delayed. I am glad, because I found
a little piece of stone with three parallel lines on it. I pulled it up
and it was a hand, a fist attached to a head - about the size of a doll's
head. It was a marble figure of some sort, cut from some sort of relief.
I later got it dated at the University in Sydney.
To what extent is this notion of the irrational essential for you as
a starting point for a film?
I then wondered what was the experience I had passed through, and found
myself thinking of it happening to a lawyer or a journalist - someone who
dealt with the rational, and with "facts". I let that thought hang about
for a while and joined it with some other thoughts I'd been having. A pattern
formed and a story began to emerge around that of a lawyer who stumbled
across areas of the irrational or the unreal.
I think there are all sorts of other things, too. It may have been
important at one point, but I like to feel I am moving in other areas now.
We mentioned comedy earlier, and in talking to John Cleese we threw around
a couple of ideas and a couple of funny situations. So the search for this
story is apparently not following that kind of route.
In "The Last Wave", was your point of interest the details of the Aboriginal
culture? Was it important to you that the audience received those, or that
it received the experience of a white Anglo-Saxon man, faced with the area
of mystery, the unknown?
But the area of creativity is obviously one that can be approached by
various avenues. You have to leave yourself open. Just as people jog to
keep their bodies fit, there is the equivalent mentally. You must somehow
have a set of some sort of exercises. I am not talking about some sort
of transcendental meditation, because that's not really worked for me,
but you must, somehow, have your mind open like a child. Obviously that
is not easy.
I think it was the latter, because there was so much I didn't understand
about the Aboriginal people. I still don't understand and I did not want
to draw conclusions on their behalf. Also, I had to use the English language
when talking with tribal people, and that further opened up the danger
of false conclusions.
You seem to share many things with Nicolas Roeg. Not only through 'Walkabout",
but also "Don't Look Now", where it seems there is a more or less comparable
situation of the rational man being forced to surrender his rationality
to come to terms with his situation. Have you ever considered any kind
of similarity between your work and his?
In talking with them, I had to talk about my character, of course, and
what I felt. I had to do that in a particular way to try and get round
the language, communication problem. With the tribal people, I did that
in a very aggressive way; I had to. The tentative approach just didn't
feel right to me; the sort of approach at the "white man's burden" level.
I had to come in as an equal, somehow, and that was very difficult.
I also knew that if I thought about it too much, I would never start
anything. So I came in talking about what I felt was my own "missing link"
and feeling. I tried to explain my attitudes to my own past and the kind
of things that I'd felt on finding the Roman head.
I went to meet Nanjiwarra in Darwin. I just steamed in there, not really
knowing what the result might be, but just taking a gamble, an intuitive
guess, that I was in the right direction. We communicated rapidly, and
I learnt things that I wouldn't have through another process.
I have loved a number of his films and, yes, there are areas where
our paths have crossed. But in other areas we diverge. His treatment of
sexuality or sex is different from mine or is more predominant. He uses
that as a part of his tension. I use other systems. It's like waving at
someone in the distance and sharing a smile. But that's about as much as
I know about him.
A comparison of "Don't Look now" and "The Last Wave" raises two points
of disappointment for me in those films and that is when the mysteries
are actually unravelled. In "The Last Wave" it's when one sees the wave
with David Burton (Richard Chamberlain) in the last shot. I have always
wished that film had ended with his look...
Th ending is still a problem for me.
In David Stratton's book, 'The Last New Wave', he says you wanted to
do the ending in a much more lavish way: perhaps streets being flooded
and so on. Was the decision to end the film as you did just forced on you
by economics or was there an artistic choice?
Both elements were involved, but I think I have to be honest and say
that I didn't find the solution to the problem of how to end the film.
there is no ending and I was painted into a corner. I have seen it happen
with other filmmakers dealing in this kind of area. You can't end it. You
can try to be clever, and I tried a couple of other endings that I did
stop short of any wave, but they were just too neat. The ending just plagued
me, and it was an extremely unhappy period. Part way through the film we
broke over Easter. I remember a terrible few days wrestling with this ending
and pretending I had found a solution to it. But I certainly had no plan
I failed to execute.
Looking at the film now, do you have an idea of how you might end it?
No. It's just the last chapter is missing. I just have to leave it;
don't look back.
Do you have a special interest in myths? It seems to be the case in
"The Last Wave" and indeed in "The Plumber", where the Judy Morris character
is very interested in New Guinea tribal habits...
It's something that comes and goes. I mean, I'd say that, as of this
moment, I am not interested, but these things don't go away, they are presumably
part of your make-up. They come back when you have worked through it.
Would you suggest that is the case because myths tend to be a way of
coming to terms with things otherwise unexplainable?
Yes, I think they are an essential part of civilisation and it's given
us particular problems as displaced Europeans who chose, for some extraordinary
reasons, to leave our myths behind. I think our films in this period are,
at times, an attempt to rediscover them or to reinvigorate them or even
to create them, as the Americans have done. I think that part of their
mythology can be seen on the screen. They didn't invent it, but they plugged
into something. In this context, the ending to The Last Wave becomes
less important to me. It was in the centre of the film that my interest
lay, in coming close to something and failing to achieve it. I think if
I did the film today, I would make it less extravagant from the "disaster"
element and stay in the law court.
You say "coming close to something". Is it possible to be more precise?
No. I think you can look at it in a number of ways. I think it was
dealing with some very powerful truth, in fact, I was working out while
making the film. I don't mean like working out a personal problem, but
the chemistry of the people involved and the material we were dealing with
became more interesting than the script itself. There was a highly-charged
Is "The Plumber", then, a return to something much safer?
As most people know, that's true of any film set, given that the material
has some potential in it, and this was particularly true with The Last
Wave. I have never had one quite like that and others would have taken
the material in different directions. But having Nanjiwarra and Gulpilil
in the city, dealing with that material produced tensions that were quite
extraordinary. And all I could do is try and hold on to it.
It was very exciting, far more interesting than the rules for constructing
a dramatic story, even though it may have led me away from finding a satisfactory
conclusion for the film.
No, it wasn't that so much as being in a period where I had no project
ready to go. I had this short story and needed some money.
Your intention was to write the screenplay for "The Plumber", but not
to direct it...
Yes, I didn't think there was enough in it for me.
Yet, in the context of your work, it looks very much like a Peter Weir
In the end I couldnít let it go.
Was it frustrating making it for television?
Only when I saw it come out on television with the commercial breaks
and the small screen. There was a sense of some sort of loss.
In some ways, it seemed like a return structurally to "The Cars That
Ate Paris", that is probably more tightly put together...
I always think of it as a companion piece to Homesdale and Cars.
And again, though you may not agree, a sort of black comedy idea seems
to go right through these three films particularly...
In the period after "The Plumber", there seems to be a large gap which
I gather is taken up with your time in the U.S. and the abandoned "The
Thorn Birds". Do you still want to work there?
Well, the U.S. to me now, after so many trips and so many projects
that weren't right, has really come down to almost a group of people. I
have a number of friends there now, in the business mostly, and I would
like to work with them or use them in various capacities. But I feel, at
the moment, that it is right for me here. Australia is the most exciting
filmmaking country in the world. How long it will last I don't know. These
things fade, as film history teaches us.
Is it that there are a lot of constraints in the U.S., like what happened
to "Cars", that seem to be constantly holding you back?
So, my interest is here now, though if I had found something particularly
exciting in the U.S., I would probably go. But it wouldn't be going over
for a oncer and then coming back.
I don't think that's a good example because the McElroys [producers]
and I were just extremely naive. Those were very early days and we thought
we were in with the right people, and we weren't. We just got ripped-off.
But even if they hadn't done what they did with the cut, the film still
wouldn't have worked. So I am not worried about that.
Would you agree that the title "Gallipoli" refers not so much to a place
or a battle as to an idea...
In the desert sequence in "Gallipoli", Frank makes reference to Burke
and Wills. It makes some kind of contact between their enterprise and the
idea of "Gallipoli"...
I think it's just that they are choked with craft over there. There
is just too much refinement, too many filters, too much processing of material.
Talk about losing the art! They sure have the craft in great quantity,
but if I hear that word "development" again I think I will just cancel
the ticket. It's great to put the script through the punishing process
they invented, but there is a time when you have to make it or drop it,
and both those decisions they will defer as long as they can - to the detriment
of the projects.
Yes, it was a great idea of David's, linking the two failures.
Your collaboration with David Williamson seems to have been a very productive
meeting of different interests. Is he happy with the film?
Yes, I think this is evident from the fact that we are going into another
one. We had disagreements, but there were only one or two instances where
we walked away thinking maybe we won't get over this one. The film and
the ideas involved were bigger than we were, so we could always meet again
under those terms.
There seems to a be a striking similarity between: "Gallipoli" and "Chariots
of Fire". They are both set in the early years of the 20th Century and
deal with athletes going off to represent the Empire but not really understanding
the implications of what they are doing...
There are similarities but only superficial ones. The tone is very
different. I love the music of Vangelis and had planned to use him for
some time, and there he is on the soundtrack of Chariots.
Would you agree that "Gallipoli" is a change of direction for you?
Apparently, but at it's heart I don't think so. Its source came from
a visit to Gallipoli in 1976, which was the period when I was also working
on The Last Wave. So I think you have to look at it as within the
same period. I feel it's my most successful film because it has stripped
away the cleverness and tricks with a process of refining and simplifying,
which I think I began in The Plumber.
It seems to be a very relaxed film without being loose, as if it's in
no hurry to get where it's going although it knows where that is...
I think that's something that I have learnt. It's such a long apprenticeship
you have to serve in films.
You obviously make a choice not to show very much blood. You showed
bodies, but thereís none of that Sam Pekinpah-style stuff, which would
have made the impact of the actual process of dying pretty powerful and
bloody. Were you concerned dramatically to work away from that?
Yes, but I disagree with an aspect of what you have just said. I do
think the more you show, the less real it becomes.
How do you feel about Frank? In a sense his destiny remains unsolved...
I think we know Frank. He was a survivor and a type one can still observe
Do you agree that the film is less the dramatisation of an anti-war
viewpoint than a study of the idea of adventure with one's mates and of
their competitive urge?
I saw a headline in the paper today saying, "Americans claim neutron
bomb will prevent war". So what does "anti-war" mean? Everyone is anti-war.
I think the term was invented in some publicists office. When the war happened,
it happened. I didn't really care why it happened. I have heard too much
about that. I did it at school and never believed a word of all the explanations
of how it happened. My interest was not in the causes of war but in the
men who went.
The choice of music for your films seems to be just right. Do you add
music after the final cut or do you have some piece of music in mind en
route to the final cut?
Both, I think. Quite often I have been surprised to find that music
which gives me inspiration during the shoot just doesn't work with the
cut. So I have to put it aside; it has served its purpose. In the case
of the pan pipes in Picnic, Bruce Smeaton and I were looking for the appropriate
sound and the closest I ever got was some Celtic music of Alain Stivel's.
But it wasn't right. Then Jim McElroy walked in with this beautiful and
appropriate music and said, "Iíve got it." He'd heard it on television
and there it was; he was right.
Is the choice of Mozart in the garden party sequence by the lake in
"Picnic" deliberately there to point the oddness of the European culture
in this very alien landscape?
Yes. It struck me as very funny. I also liked the music very much.
But it's funny how you change with things. At first, my response was purely
a visual one - all the people in those clothes by the water - and that
pleased me. But as we played the Mozart on the day of filming I just drifted
into some other area. I thought, what beautiful music, and who cares about
what happened to some British culture and who cares about the point of
the British in Australia or the Europeanness in our landscape. Suddenly
it was too obvious and nothing compared to that piece of music.
In "Gallipoli", you manage to create an atmosphere that seems just right.
A good example is that extraordinary sense of a "ghostly funfair", as I
think Evan Williams in 'The Australian' described it, when soldiers arrive
This obviously happens as you are directing. You drift into other areas.
You forget trying to be clever. I constantly try to strip myself of cleverness,
because I think that old adage is true: that while mastering your craft
you lost your art. So many first films have such vigour, energy and originality,
yet later works often gain in craft and lose that fire.
Yes. I think it's something that's come naturally to me and it's something
I know will just happen. But I don't know how.
But it's not just the images. You seem to spend a lot of time preparing
The scene you mention came from the description of a veteran, a man
called Jack Tarrant who came in as a reinforcement. He said "How can I
possibly describe it to you? It was a hospital ship and it had its red
cross and green lights on. I can't think of the words to describe it. It
was just not what we expected." And that was enough of an inspiration.
I was so grateful for the experience that came through what he said. He
had given it to me.
Evan Williams' description was very apt, I think, for it was exactly
how I thought of it.
I love sound. I work with it constantly. I feel it's the final creative
stage that a director has at his command. I have always worked with Greg
Bell and Helen Brown, who are a great team. We have very inventive sessions
which can change the tone and mood of a scene.
They are constantly experimenting , mostly with familiar sounds. They
like to work at replacing the natural sound with some other kind of sound:
It's part of the secret of creating that atmosphere when a footstep, in
fact, is being created by something either electronic or inconsequential
- crushing a packet of chips or something. It gives the sound an edge.
But you'd never pick it.