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Wilhelm Scream makes it into "Iron Man 2," says director Jon Favreau

by Brandy McDonnell Published: March 25, 2010

“Iron Man 2″ director Jon Favreau (pictured below) sent out an interesting Tweet earlier this week: “Spoiler for sound geeks: The Wilhelm Scream is in.”

As the L.A. Times’ Hero Complex blog reports, that Tweet means “Iron Man 2″ will open in theaters May 7 featuring one of the most storied sound effects in Hollywood – a single-second, high-pitched shriek from the 1950s known to sound supervisors as “The Wilhelm Scream.”

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19760" title="saving grace3" src="" alt="" width="500" height="687" imagescaler="" /> For the past three years, Oscar winner Holly Hunter ("The Piano") has played a hard-living Oklahoma City cop regularly visited by an unconventional angel named Earl (Leon Rippy) in the TNT drama series "Saving Grace." Hunter's performance as Detective Grace Hanadarko has earned her two Emmy nominations and three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. But Hunter and fans of the show are getting ready to say goodbye to "Saving Grace," which is set but not filmed in Oklahoma City. The show's final season begins at 9 p.m. Monday on TNT. In a Q&amp;A with Reuters, Hunter, 52, talks about what people can expect from the final season and what she will miss about playing Grace. <strong>Q: "Saving Grace" creator, Nancy Miller (who hails from Oklahoma City), has promised that the final nine episodes of the show will be "a wild and exciting ride." Without spilling the beans, what's in store for fans this season?</strong> A: "I think it's great for the writers and actors to know this is the final season. It offers an opportunity to bring the show to a conclusion and it helps with how you're going to get there. The worst would have been to have the plug pulled and told to pack your stuff and get out. ... We had five episodes to really hone how we wanted the show to end and I think it's going to be exciting and unpredictable for viewers." <strong>Q: How did you prepare to play an intense, fearless, cynical, sexy cop? Is Detective Grace Hanadarko based on anyone in particular?</strong> A: "I think Grace is part of the imagination. The fact that she is a cop is perfect. She's there to serve. I think the best police officers are there to serve. That's their main initiative in wanting to be a police officer and that's certainly true with Grace. "But I also believe that Grace likes to live in a slightly dangerous place and being a cop affords her that chance. By nature, she's a bit of a dangerous women. She's unpredictable. She likes leading a secret life and she's ultimately alone. Even though she has a fantastic best friend and she's a great family member in many ways, I still think she's a loner at heart." <strong>Q: What will you miss most about playing Grace?</strong> A: "I love what Grace finds funny. I love the camaraderie with my fellow cops, my fellow cast members, my angel, my best friend. I've loved working with this amazing ensemble of actors." Click <a href="">here </a>to read the rest of this interesting interview with Hunter. -BAM

Several movie fans I know (including Mr. BAM) refer to it as the “George Lucas Scream.” That’s because legendary sound supervisor Ben Burtt, who created the sound effects for “Star Wars” and won Oscars for his work on “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” began using the scream as a kind of signature sound. Other sound specialists started working it into their projects as an inside joke.

Hollywood historian and sound editor Steve Lee writes about the origins of the scream at With the inclusion of “Iron Man 2,” Lee counts at least 150 movies that have used the famous yowl.

The Wilhelm Scream is first heard in the 1951 movie “Distant Drums” starring Gary Cooper, chronicles Lee. The sound is used when a soldier is bitten by an alligator while wading through the Florida Everglades.

It was next used two years later in a movie called “The Charge at Feather River,” the film that gave the sound its famous name. A character named Private Wilhelm lets out the shriek when an arrow strikes him in the leg.

Favreau noted on Twitter that he also used the Wilhelm Scream in the first “Iron Man” movie.

Check out this YouTube video compiling some of the cinematic uses for the Wilhelm Scream:


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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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