In Amadeus, Tom Hulce played Mozart as having a very distinctive (and to some, very annoying) laugh. I’m wondering if Hulce actually laughs like this, or whether it’s something he invented for the character. I’ve seen him act in only one other film (The Projectionist), but that movie was so dark and depressing that I don’t recall his character ever laughing in it.
His first notable role was in Animal House and he did not laugh like that. I’ve seen him in several other movies and the laugh was not repeated. Frankenstein and Parenthood come to mind. But I don’t recall any interviews with him and so I cannot answer any better. But I would strongly think the laugh was his creation for the eccentric character he was playing. Especially as his high-pitched laugh was part of what drove Salieri insane.
I recall reading (no cite) more than once that the laugh was created for the movie by Hulce.
BZZZZT! Peter Schaffer’s original script for the stage production of Amadeus described Mozart as having “an annoying high pitched giggle.” The first actor to create it on stage was Simon Callow, and the rest followed him.
I remember seeing an interview of TH on, I think, the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. They did the usual lead-in and showed a clip. Johnny asked TH to do the laught and he refused.
I also remember TH from Animal House, I was suprised when watching Amadeus that he could be such a different charactor, I surmise that he’s a great actor.
From here: *The obnoxious laugh Hulce created for Mozart has provoked extreme reactions. Some viewers are charmed. Others liken it to fingernails on a blackboard. “The laugh is historical,” says Hulce. "People who knew Mozart refer to it in their letters. Milos asked for something extreme. I paced around my loft in New York before the first screen test. I know a director who is quite brilliant, but when he laughs you think he is of subnormal intelligence. The next day I said to Milos, ‘I’m going to do this. Just tell me if you think it’s too much.’ " Re-creating the cackle was no laughing matter. “I’ve never been able to make that sound except in front of a camera. When we did the looping nine months later, I couldn’t find the laugh. I had to raid the producer’s private bar and have a shot of whiskey to jar myself into it.” *
Hmm… apparently I misremembered the title. It’s actually The Inner Circle.
I remember seeing interviews with Hulce around the time that the movie was released, and he said much the same as in the quote which lieu posted: that the laugh he used for Mozart was one he came up with specifically for the movie, and that he had a hard time even reproducing it after the shoot ended.
Yeah, it really makes me wonder why we didn’t see him in more major leading roles. According to Wikipedia he retired from acting in the mid-1990s, but has since gone on to become a successful producer.
Yeah, not a lot of laughs in that one.