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The Hilarious Way Rebecca Ferguson Attempted Bene Gesserit Voice For Dune

When "Dune" premieres on October 22, 2021, it will finally bring decades of fan anticipation to an end. Based on the early reviews, it looks like Denis Villeneuve's "Dune" will be worth the wait, with SlashFilm calling it a "sensational and spiritual spectacle." 

As anyone who's seen David Lynch's ill-fated 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel knows, "Dune" is a notoriously hard story to adapt. It's a sprawling and dense tale with dozens of characters, tons of interiority, and alien terminology that requires an appendix section to understand. As a sci-fi movie, it also features fantastical elements, like the iconic sand worms and the Bene Gesserit witches.

If you're new to the "Dune" story, the Bene Gesserit are an all-female pseudo-religious organization that aims to control the galaxy by helping usher in their messiah figure, the all-powerful Kwisatz Haderach. This was originally supposed to be the daughter of the Bene Gesserit priestess Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson) and Feyd Rautha Harkonnen (Matt Keeslar), but Lady Jessica threw a wrench into those plans when she purposely gave birth to a son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet).

As a Bene Gesserit, one of Lady Jessica's signature abilities is Voice, a way of speaking set at a specific frequency that allows the speaker to control other people's actions and minds. Like many special effects in "Dune," the Voice ended up added in post-production, which meant the actors on set had to come up with their own interpretation of what it sounds like.

In a recent interview, Rebecca Ferguson explained how she thought the Voice should sound — and "Dune" diehards are probably glad it didn't make the final cut.

For Rebecca Ferguson, the Voice sounds like a Disney character

"The Voice was a fun thing to play around with," Ferguson told Polygon. "When we were on set, Denis didn't really have a clear idea of exactly how it would sound which gave such a freedom for me and everyone else to interpret it the way they wanted to, and that's a creative freedom."

For Ferguson, her interpretation of the Voice sounded like Donald Duck. "I actually started doing like, Donald Duck sounds," she said. "And I don't know where I was going with it. I thought, If I can play around and animate a sound, I think Denis will go, 'Oh, that's amazing. Let's do that, Rebecca!' [laughs] Never happened."

After getting Donald Duck out of her system, Ferguson and Villenueve took a different approach. "So we focused mostly on where the energy came from," she explained. "It's like yoga, it's like meditation [for the Bene Gesserit]. If you are in complete calm, and in line with your thoughts and your soul and your body, there is a directness, when you cut out all of the other stimulants around you. And to be able to talk from that point, whether it is 'Start your interview,' or whatever it is, it will become very pure."

In the end, the post-production team used echoes and reverberations to create the Bene Gesserit Voice. A promotional clip released in Singapore gives us a quick glimpse of the Voice in action. Otherwise, we'll get to hear exactly what it sounds like soon enough.