Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell a new entry into the fairy tale kingdom.
Snow White may have been the fairest of them all in 2012, but that bean-stalk-climbing boy named Jack is poised to take over her title with this year’s “Jack the Giant Slayer,” directed by “X-Men: First Class” helmer Bryan Singer.
The film stomps into theaters March 1, but ahead of its release, MTV News is gifting you with not only an exclusive clip starring Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson, but an interview with Singer, in which the auteur talks at length about adapting the classic tale and the big technology it took to bring giants to life. Check them out below!
MTV: What was the initial draw to a story like this?
Bryan Singer: I try to do very different kinds of films. At the time when I decided to develop this, there were no fairy-tale movies out. There was no “Alice in Wonderland” or “Snow White” or anything, so I felt it was a chance to expand on an old myth and tell it for real, for lack of a better term. What would it be like if there was actually a beanstalk that went into the heavens? What would it be like if giants existed? Also, I was a big fan of the Ray Harryhausen pictures when I was a kid, so this was a chance to make a modern-day film like that, but with the technology now in the place where it’s at — with motion capture, performance capture, I could finally enter that space and work in it, so that was something I wanted to do as well.
MTV: I know you brought in Chris [McQuarrie] to re-work the script a bit. How much did the story change?
Singer: It changed entirely, it became a completely different film. I mean, I don’t want to disregard the other writers, because they did create a world and a concept, but what I found was, if a movie’s gonna be called “Jack the Giant Slayer,” we really can’t have too much sympathy for the giants. There was a dangerous ambiguity in the original script between sympathy for the giants, what they were, and their previous relationship with humanity. I needed to redefine that, so I brought Chris in for a rewrite, a very significant rewrite during the pre-production. Then Dan Studney came in, an old friend of mine. He was the prep/on-set re-writer and we crafted a kind of different film.
MTV: You have Nicholas Hoult, who isn’t a household name yet, as your lead. Did the studio want a bigger name as Jack?
Singer: No, we recognized early on that the giants were the stars. That’s what you’re selling. It’s kind of like the dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park.” So we just wanted somebody who could carry the movie, who was charming and heroic and appealing. Nick, I had always been a fan of. I was instrumental in his casting in “X-Men: First Class,” and having interacted with him in that movie I found him just to be a lovely person, incredibly talented.
MTV: You have worked on a lot of large-scale films but all of those either had a huge star or a brand name you could sell it on. Have you had concerns about how to bring in the audience you need for a movie of this scale?
Singer: It’s very challenging. I try to be very much involved with the marketing. You’re going in with an unquantifiable movie that bears a faint resemblance to an old fairy tale that was incredibly linear and incredibly simple. The story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” you wouldn’t say, “Oh, that would make a good movie.” This is its own original story that uses some of that iconography. Yeah, it’s a risk, but to create this world properly it requires a certain kind of budget. If you’re gonna make it, it’s gonna cost money, and you hope you’re gonna make it as entertaining and fun and good as possible.
MTV: The technology you’re using here has some different tools that you haven’t gotten a chance to work with before. There are leaps and bounds every year, but it seems like in particular in the last five years or so there have been some crazy advances in motion capture, etc. Did you use motion capture for the giants?
Singer: Yeah, we performance-captured the giants first on a volume stage. The challenge that we had, that “Avatar” did not, was that you’ve got real actors interacting with giants.
This was my first 3-D movie as well, and I took a lot of care with the stereo. But to do a fully animated kind of thing? I definitely want to use this technology again, and I might even be using some of it in a different way in “X-Men.” I don’t wanna say how, yet, but I’m definitely using some of this technology on “X-Men” which I never used in any of the other “X-Men” films.
MTV: Are you talking about creating a fully CGI character in “Days of Future Past”?
Singer: That’s the thing I don’t want to talk about. I’m not sure. I’m doing research on it now.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Jack the Giant Slayer.”