The ‘dark’ lord

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Stanley Tucci gives the lowdown about his latest movie project, Jack The Giant Slayer

AMERICAN actor, writer, film director and producer Stanley Tucci who starred in Hunger Games in 2012 was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Lovely Bones (2009), and won an Emmy Award for his performance in Winchell.

He plays nobleman Lord Roderick in Jack The Giant Slayer, playing in cinemas now.

What drew you to this project? Did the script surprise you at all when you read it?

I loved it. I thought it was really funny and smart. I’ve always wanted to play a role like this, the British baddie, you know, based on those classic old movies and classic plays. I thought, ‘Are you’re kidding? This is fantastic. This is exactly what I’ve always dreamed of’. They offered it to me and I said yes.

Can you tell more about Lord Roderick?

Lord Roderick will stop at nothing to get what he wants, which is to be the most powerful man in this world. He is shameless in his exploration of evil and has very dry wit. I just wanted to keep doing it. But, yeah, that’s who he is. He tries to throw a wrench into the works at every turn.

He is sort of the opposite of Ewan McGregor’s Elmont character. I understand the two of you worked together on A Life Less Ordinary. Was it fun reconnecting?

It was. We’d only come across each other a couple of times in the last 15, 16 years, that’s how long ago that was, although I did play his father in an animated film called Robots, but we never met. So it was great, and we have friends in common.

I think he had just finished doing a movie with Emily Blunt, who is now my sister-in-law. So, we have Emily and other people in common. We really have a great time. And our families got together. It was really nice.

You shot the fight scene in the waterfall together. Can you tell me what that was like because for him, it was the most memorable.

Yes, we rehearsed it quite a bit before we started shooting. We shot it for over a two-week, almost three-week period. It was long and hard. Even though it’s not that long a fight, it takes a long time to get all the bits and pieces together.

And you’re dealing with the external elements, like mainly a waterfall and a narrow slip of fake rock that you’re working on. I was glad it was with Ewan because he’s nice and I trust him.

Was there any training for all the climbing, fighting and horseback riding?

Oh yeah. I was riding horses for a month like every other day and I loved it. In the film I never rode a horse, I just sat on a horse. We would go horseback riding and then we would train to do the fight up in the waterfall and then we’d do a little climbing walls that they had built just to make us feel secure and all that and explain to us what was going to happen. It was great.

The stunt people were amazing. I mean, they really were very attentive because it’s uncomfortable to be nine or 12m up when you’re in a harness and have all this stuff and it’s raining. And I don’t like heights, so...

The movie is an adventure fantasy but with wit and a modern context. Was it fun to play? Was it challenging? How did you find a balance?

Well, the balance was there in the script, and I really like the tone that it strikes. What I really like about it is that there are no real contemporary references. There’s still kind of an old world elegance to it, and I like that. I don’t like when things become sort of too winky and jokey. I think it strikes the right tone and certainly the right look. I think it’s like an amazing looking film.

In terms of the look and the design, did you have a favourite place to shoot?

Up in Norwich. The cathedral there is, I think, one of the oldest in England. Oh my God, it was so beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was very hard to leave. It was stunning, fascinating. You get to go down and look in all the tombs and the stuff. Amazing.

Also in Wells, which I think has the oldest street in England, which is right next to the cathedral. And it was so beautiful. But people still live there. The town itself was just stunning. So, really, this was great, because it gave me an opportunity to explore England, which I wouldn’t have been able to do.

Can you talk about Nicholas Hoult as Jack and Eleanor Tomlinson as Princess Isabelle? What were they like to work with?

They’re great. They’re both really tall and very beautiful. They’re nice and smart. They’re incredibly hard working and really talented. They deserve every bit of success that they have.

The film touches on some themes of courage and facing your fears. Obviously, it’s fun and adventure, but did anything stand out to you thematically in the story?

I think that’s the one, confronting your fears. I mean, that’s what so much of these fairytales are about. That’s why they exist, really, to help us confront them in a safe way.

What I like about it is that it’s not afraid to go kind of dark, which is what a lot of these fairytales were and then they became kind of whitewashed over the years, over the centuries. But I think that’s probably the strongest overriding theme.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Stanley Tucci plays Lord Roderick, the King’s power-hungry advisor.


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