Rebecca Ferguson Says Her Dune Voice Was Basically 'Donald Duck Sounds'

In "Dune," Rebecca Ferguson's character, Lady Jessica, is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a quasi-religious order of space witches that can exert mind control over people using the Voice. Not to be confused that with the reality show, "The Voice," which undoubtedly has its own brainwashing effects.

This new "Dune" movie, which bills itself as "Dune Part One," gives the Voice an almost frightening sound, like the telepathy of a demon or dark puppeteer. The kazoo-like quack of Donald Duck might not be the first sound that comes to mind when you hear that description, but apparently, Ferguson was doing some Donald Duck yoga as warm-up for her Voice scenes. In an interview with Polygon, she explained:

"I actually started doing like, Donald Duck sounds, 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. So we focused mostly on where the energy came from. 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."

An Old Jedi Mind Trick

It's always interesting to hear the offbeat techniques that actors use to get in the right headspace for their scenes. Ferguson's comments bring to mind Matthew McConaughey, whose own chest-thumping warm-up chant made its way into "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Rest assured, while Ferguson may have gotten in touch with her inner Donald Duck to warm up, the actual Voice that Lady Jessica, her son, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), and the black-veiled Reverend Mother (Charlotte Rampling) use in "Dune" doesn't sound anything like a Disney character. Unless maybe you're imagining what the voice of the bat-winged Chernabog from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in "Fantasia" might sound like?

It does, however, go to show another way "Dune" may have influenced the original "Star Wars" movie, over and above the obvious desert-planet setting. In "Dune," when Paul Voice-commands people to pass the water or loosen a gag, it recalls the scene in "Star Wars" where Obi-Wan Kenobi uses an old Jedi mind trick on a Sandtrooper, saying: "These aren't the droids you're looking for." Instead of using the Force, like Luke Skywalker, Paul simply flows with "the process."

"Dune" is now showing in theaters and on HBO Max.