Go for the Gold

Out and proud, Lora Hirschberg is nominated for her first Oscar for sound mixing on The Dark Knight. Her gig at Skywalker Sound allows her to work on projects big ( The Prestige ) and small ( Shortbus ).

BY Regina Marler

February 19 2009 12:00 AM ET

Lora Hirschberg x100 (Skywalker Sound Studios) | Advocate.com

Another highlight of
Hirschberg's career is Spike Jonze's
Adaptation

. She remembers Jonze as "the coolest dude. He didn't stress
about anything. When you have such a good movie you can be
really relaxed." That same year she mixed sound for David
Fincher's
Panic Room

.

"Fincher works with
Ren Klyce," she says, "a talented Northern California sound
designer and mixer who does all of Fincher's films. That set
was half of a house that they built on a studio sound stage.
Klyce would go on the set each day after shooting and record
doors slamming. It was a perfect sound job. You could take the
dialogue out and that would still be a perfect film."

She also worked with
Jodie Foster on the underappreciated Thanksgiving film
Home for the Holidays

: "There's great stuff in that movie. Anne
Bancroft's performance is hilarious. And that song
'Candy' that keeps coming in and out."

Referring to a
scene in which a cat coughs up a fur ball, Hirschberg says
proudly, "That's my cat. I recorded that at home."
She also remembers screening the temp mix for Foster: After a
scene wherein Geraldine Chaplin farts in a car, Foster
remarked, "That fart sound isn't quite funny enough."

Hirschberg was able to
turn to a colleague on the spot and ask, "Would you
please cut us a new fart?"

"Sound people love
farts," Hirschberg admits. "In
Iron Man

we got to create a symphony of farts. Hilarious! We couldn't
get enough of it. That's what makes my job
worthwhile."

Like a lot of gay
Californians, Hirschberg and her wife, Dr. Laura Norrell, have
been married twice. They have two daughters. Hirschberg has
always been out at work and says she's never faced any
discrimination.

"There are maybe a
hundred people in the country who do my job for feature
films," she explains. "And two of those are women. I'm
already a special case! But what's good is that when any
stereotype -- about race or anything -- comes up at work, I can
say 'That's bullshit.' I get to say what other people don't.
And my general manager is out and gay too."

Of the 20 sound people
nominated for Oscars this year, 11 work with Hirschberg at
Skywalker Sound. "So I can honestly say I don't care who
wins," she says, "because I feel one of us there will
win, and I'm really proud of that."

Tags: film

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