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“Chatting” is such a good word for this interview because that’s really what it felt like. Three-time Tony Award®, two-time Olivier Award and Oscar® winner Mark Rylance is the Big Friendly Giant and Fleshlumpeater, is played by the multi-talented actor, comedian and musical artist Jemaine Clement (“The Flight of the Conchords”).
Fleshlumpeater is 52-feet tall with a big ego and a very small head. While he is the leader of the pack, the alpha male, in truth he is just a bully and a coward and not the brightest of the bunch. “My character is just a pile of muscles,” says Clement. “The BFG describes him as a cannibal, which is pretty accurate as he finds humans – especially children – delicious.”
When they came in they both saw The BFG Pop! figure that was sitting on the table (my kids LOVE collecting these and yes, I brought one home).
I guess they hadn’t seen it yet and I loved watching them check out the movie merchandise for the first time!
We were curious about how they went about getting into character. The Big Friendly Giant and the other giants were filmed in performance-capture suits because it was important to Spielberg that the actors have that real interaction. As a result, production on “The BFG” was a hybrid style of filmmaking using a blend of live-action and performance capture techniques to bring the story’s fantasical characters to life, all on real sets that were built specifically for the film.
Mark: ” Well every morning it took about an hour and a half of them sticking glow in the dark marbles on us and battery packs and having a lot of painted dots painted on, about 45 minutes of having dots painted on your face through like a tight hockey mask. So there was a lot of time to think and listen to music or, you know, just get yourself in a certain head space but, um, apart from that I don’t know how you prepare, it’s just playful, like a child really.
What was fun for us was in motion capture there’s no cameras, there’s no marks, there’s just like a playground, you just start to play and imagine it and speak the lines.”
Then we asked both about speaking giant. Was it difficult?
Mark: “Very hard. Very hard indeed yeah, I don’t think there are any actors in the world that could have done what Jermaine and I have done.”
Jemaine: “It’s (like) improvising in giant.”
Mark: “Improvising in giant, yeah it’s like improving in Shakespeare, it’s tricky!”
We started talking about Gobblefunk and Mark told us that “Telly-telly Bunkum Box” (television) was his favorite word. Of course that conversation lead to “Whizpopper” and whether that was a better word than “fart”. Jemaine brought up the great point that you’d have to have read a book to know what it was so it must be better right?! 😉
We wanted to know if it was fun playing a mean giant, he’s such a unique villain!
Jemaine: “Yeah he’s really fun. The bad giants, well we would get to, rehearse our motion capture and just walking around like big, lumbering, lumps of meat, and that was really fun. Smashing things and intimidating people and being stupid is fun.”
Q: How did your kids like it?
Mark: “My son really loves it. He helped me a lot actually, I read him the book again when we got to Vancouver, he’d already heard it but if he didn’t like the voice he’d go, no the other voice, and that’s how I found the voice, he’d guide me.”
They both said they loved the parts where they got to film scenes together. They are such dynamic scenes! They also both spoke very highly of Ruby Barnhill. What a lucky girl to get to work with people who respect her so much at a young age!
When asked what they hope people get out of the film they both talked about the importance of kids feeling like their thoughts and feelings are valid. That good things can come out of bad situations.
The BFG opens everywhere July 1st and after going through all our interviews I am itching to take the boys to see what they think!
“The talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg –finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.”