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'Jack the Giant Slayer' Cast on the Challenges of Motion Capture

"It’s not a lot of fun and anyone who says 'Oh that’s really fun,' they just aren’t telling you the truth,” Stanley Tucci tells THR at the premiere of Bryan Singer's big-budget film.

Nicholas Hoult Bryan Singer Giant Premiere - H 2013
Alex J. Berliner/ABImages
Nicholas Hoult and Bryan Singer at the premiere.

The cast and crew behind big-budget Jack the Giant Slayer had plenty to celebrate at the film's premiere on Tuesday at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The film, helmed by Bryan Singer, was shot back in 2011 with an initial release date of June 2012, but was pushed back nine months in order to fine-tune the film’s special effects.

Now, the reimagining of the classic fairy tale is finally making its way to theaters on March 1.

At the premiere, Singer told The Hollywood Reporter that he needed the extra time to get the special effects right.

"The movie was never going to be ready by that time," he said. "It’s a very complex process. Unlike the X-Men pictures I had done in the past, the visual effects involved in creating fully rendered CG characters is very complex, especially when they are of giant proportions. There’s size. There’s weight. There’s all of these different variables and a lot of the environments are created in the computers so you just have got to make them look right."

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The Warner Bros. film, which is one of the first big-budget event pics of 2013, cost a reported $300 million to make and market, due in part to the advanced computer graphic and motion capture technologies that were used to create the film’s 50-foot tall giants and spectacular settings.

Singer, who helmed the original X-Men movie, acknowledged the difficulties his actors faced in having digitally rendered characters comprise nearly half of the film's cast. "Unfortunately, they have to work with dolls and wire frame things, and they don't have sets to occupy," he told THR.   

For the film, Singer reunited with one of his X-Men: First Class stars, Nicholas Hoult, who plays the tittle role of Jack, an orphan who restarts an ancient war between humans and giants. Hoult says he didn't mind performing with his enormous, imaginary co-stars. “A lot of it was the same, but it was just [acting] with things that weren’t there," he says.

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Stanley Tucci, who plays the film’s villain, was a little more blunt with his experience dealing with the motion-capture technology. "It’s not a lot of fun and anyone who says ‘Oh that’s really fun’ they just aren’t telling you the truth," he says. "But the result is something extraordinary.”

Eleanor Tomlinson who plays Isabelle, the autonomous princess who longs for adventure, agrees with Tucci, saying the technology “was a real challenge."

The actress, who went through seven rounds of auditions before landing the part, added, "But Bryan was very helpful. You just have to trust your director with that kind of stuff.”

Jack the Giant Slayer opens in theaters on March 1.