News

A Giant Film

Actor Nicholas Hoult talks about playing a classic fairytale character in Jack the Giant Slayer

March 01, 2013
©2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND LEGENDARY PICTURES FUNDING, LLC.

Jack (played by Nicholas Hoult) climbs a beanstalk that leads to an island of giants in Jack the Giant Slayer, in theaters March 1.

“Fee-fi-fo-fum.” Giants utter this frightening phrase in ancient tales that date as far back as the 12th century—most famously in the English fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Jack’s tale is getting an action-packed—and giant-packed—update in Warner Bros Pictures’ Jack the Giant Slayer, in 2-D, 3-D and IMAX theaters March 1.

Actor Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, X-Men: First Class) plays Jack, a farm boy from the medieval English town of Cloister. Hidden high in the clouds above the town is an island, where there lives an ancient race of giants. When some magical beans send Cloister’s adventurous princess, Isabelle, up a beanstalk to be captured by giants, Jack is determined to save her. During a recent press conference, TFK spoke to Hoult, 23, about his experience making Jack the Giant Slayer.

Q:

Why did you decide to do the movie?

NICHOLAS HOULT:

I grew up with the fairy tale and enjoyed the story as a kid. I enjoy stories where characters get swept up on an adventure and get taken to strange, magical worlds and grow along the way. I thought there was potential in the script to make a really cool adventure movie.

Jack (Nicholas Hoult) joins Cloister's elite group of royal knights, the Guardians, on a quest up the beanstalk to save Princess Isabelle from the giants.

©2013 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND LEGENDARY PICTURES FUNDING, LLC.
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) joins Cloister's elite group of royal knights, the Guardians, on a quest up the beanstalk to save Princess Isabelle from the giants.

Q:

How would you say you are similar to or different from your character Jack?

HOULT:

His determination and his willingness to go the extra mile for what he thinks is right, I hope that I have that quality. When he and the princess start developing their relationship, he is well aware of how she can help the kingdom and what’s going on in the world around him, and I’d like to think I’m quite aware of what’s going on.

How we are different? He’s a lot braver than I would ever be. If a giant beanstalk erupted out of the ground and there were rumors about giants being up there, there’s a part of me that would like to believe I would offer myself up to go save someone, but that’s pretty terrifying, so maybe I wouldn’t handle the situation quite as well as [Jack] did.

Q:

What are some new elements that Jack the Giant Slayer brings to the classic fairytale?

HOULT:

The thing that I really enjoyed about the script is that even though it’s based on the fairytale, it’s been developed into its own storyline. It has throwbacks to the original story, but it’s also a completely different story. In the original story there was only one giant. In this story there are a whole bunch of them. They all have individual personalities and characteristics that are really entertaining and fun to watch, so that’s definitely something that’s great about this film. The giants are very different from what people have seen before.

Q:

The giants were created using motion capture and CGI. Did you find it difficult to work with that?

HOULT:

It was weird because I was looking at a tennis ball most of the time. But it was good that we did [the motion capture] stuff first because then we could have the giant’s dialogue being played over a loudspeaker. What they could do very cleverly on this [film] was that, after the shot, they could overlay what they’d captured with the giants onto the [monitor] screen, so you could see how you fit within the shot. It [helps] to have a good imagination, and I’m completely delusional. So if I concentrate hard enough, I believe that I see a giant there, and then it’s not so difficult!

Q:

Can you talk about the relationship between Jack and Princess Isabelle?

HOULT:

The princess in this film wants to get out and have an adventure. She doesn’t want to be cooped up in the palace, so at the start of the movie she tries to escape and get out in the world. She’s very brave and trying to make a difference in the world. They both help each other through and learn about what they can both achieve in life.

Q:

If you had access to a magical beanstalk like Jack, what would you hope to find at the top?

HOULT:

I’d like to find an island of marshmallows. If it looked like the island that they created [for the movie], but less dangerous and more edible, I think that would be a pretty good place.

Q:

You also starred in X-Men: First Class. What do you enjoy most about being in an action film?

HOULT:

I enjoy the action side of it. I enjoy the stunts. I enjoy watching things blow up. In [Jack the Giant Slayer], we’ll be walking through a lake and then get caught up in a giant net, things like that. Watching the stunt [professionals] throw themselves off buildings and horses being charged around and arrows being fired and all that stuff, I find that very fun. I’m a big kid at heart, so to watch that happen is very entertaining.

Q:

Has there ever been a time where you’ve felt a little bit heroic in your own life?

HOULT:

Once, when I was younger, I was surfing [with] my little sister. There was a bit of a strong undercurrent that was dragging her around. I paddled out and pulled her back in. I wasn’t that old at the time. That was a bit heroic. I’d give myself a 6 out of 10, or maybe a 5 out of 10. (Laughs)

Q:

If you could play another fairy tale character in a movie, who would it be?

HOULT:

I’d like to play the dragon that defends the castle that Sleeping Beauty falls asleep in. Or an evil wizard.

Q:

What do you think kids will love about the film?

HOULT:

It’s fresh and visually pretty stunning. I think everyone wants to go off on an adventure and experience something new, so I think they’ll just get swept up in this magical fairytale, which they can imagine themselves being involved in. It’s quite an epic story, and hopefully they’ll laugh as well. It’s pretty funny.

Warner Bros Pictures’ Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 for “intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language.” Also starring Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci and Ian McShane.


Current subscribers log in/register for timeforkids.com 

Registered Users Log In

 
 
Forgot Password?
Register Now for FREE
Subscriber Benefits
Do it now to get all this:
  • Access to Interactive Digital Editions
  • Online Archives of Past Lessons & Teachers' Guides
  • Interactive Teacher Community
Website Login Page