Gi­ant mis­sion for fairy­tale hero Jack

Peas­ant uses the beanstalk to climb classes in writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

N Bryan Singer’s lat­est film, Jack the Gi­ant Slayer, the main pro­tag­o­nist climbs his way to the very top of so­ci­ety us­ing a mag­i­cal beanstalk.

But it’s no easy task break­ing into the ranks of the no­ble class in me­dieval times.

Peas­ant Jack (Ni­cholas Hoult) dis­cov­ers that sav­ing the lives of the King’s knight El­mont (Ewan McGre­gor) and his daugh­ter, Princess Is­abelle (Eleanor Tom­lin­son), isn’t enough – he has to save the en­tire hu­man race from be­ing over­run by giants. ‘‘It’s a big op­por­tu­nity for him,’’ Hoult says. ‘‘Even though he’s an un­likely hero – he’s scared of heights and shouldn’t really be of any use on the mis­sion – he’s got a strong heart and is brave and luck­ily does well.’’

The film is based only loosely on the clas­sic beanstalk fairy­tale. Rather than steal from the land of giants, Jack wins his re­wards with brave deeds.

Singer, who di­rected the first X-Men films, says Jack and the princess are meant to be to­gether – even­tu­ally. He ar­gues the film is ‘‘as­pi­ra­tional’’ and shows that a kid coming ‘‘from noth­ing’’ can make it with a good heart and per­se­ver­ance.

Singer fa­mously had to be bul­lied into do­ing X-Men be­cause he wasn’t into comics. How­ever, he was ex­posed to fairy­tales as a young­ster.

‘‘I grew up in sub­ur­bia and th­ese fairy­tales were our child­hood moral­ity tales,’’ Singer says.

McGre­gor’s act­ing class shines through in the 3D ad­ven­ture in a turn rem­i­nis­cent of Johnny Depp’s Cap­tain Jack Spar­row in Pi­rates of the Caribbean.

Be­cause Slayer is set in a fairy­tale world the ac­tors could play around with 12th-cen­tury cos­tumes and hair. McGre­gor cuts a dash­ing fig­ure in asym­met­ric black leather ar­mour that in­cludes a shoul­der fin. His char­ac­ter also has im­pres­sively coiffed hair. Ni­cholas Hoult (above) as Jack and Cook (left), voiced by Philip Philmar, in

‘‘It didn’t mat­ter that my hair isn’t pe­riod. I wanted high hair – that was it. El­mont is quite camp,’’ he says.

The ac­tors spent a lot of time prac­tis­ing on a climb­ing wall be­fore shoot­ing on the ac­tual beanstalk made of ply­wood, foam, plas­ter and rub­ber. McGre­gor says the wall was more fun than the beanstalk partly be­cause they were of­ten film­ing while be­ing pum­melled with rain machines. In­deed, Hoult wore a wet­suit un­der his cos­tume most days.

While Jack’s plight is ad­mirable, the film’s por­trayal of Princess Is­abelle is less so. She is con­strained by her priv­i­lege and an overly pro­tec­tive fa­ther who won’t let her leave the palace with­out a ret­inue of guards.

‘‘Ev­ery­where she goes she’s fol­lowed by guardians and pro­tected. It’s very con­strain­ing for her when all she wants is ad­ven­ture,’’ Tom­lin­son says.

As for the giants there’s no doubt­ing their bad­ness. They eat hu­mans and use their bones as tooth-picks. Their fe­ro­cious two-headed leader Gen­eral Fal­lon is played by Bill Nighy util­is­ing a North­ern Ir­ish ac­cent.

Singer says that be­fore shoot­ing, Nighy would sit in his car and scream for 20 min­utes ‘‘to blow his vo­cal cords out’’ so he’d have a raspy voice.

Slayer has a big­ger body count than all of Singer’s other films com­bined but is ac­tu­ally quite light-hearted and fun. What could have been a dark tale is made much less so as a re­sult of McGre­gor’s play­ful­ness and the in­ter­wo­ven love story with Hoult and Tom­lin­son.

‘‘I want kids to be scared and en­thralled but not have night­mares for weeks – maybe a few days,’’ Singer says.

opens to­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.