“X-Men: First Class” hits theaters this weekend, but the producer of the film, Bryan Singer, is already hard at work on his next project, “Jack the Giant Killer,” the Warner Bros. film due in theaters next summer. Over at 24 Frames, our must-read sister blog, Steven Zeitchik just interviewed the filmmaker, who said this new project was a welcome “antidote” to his sometimes smothering labor on “Valkyrie” (2008).
“With that movie, I was so obsessed with the accuracy and the history and the detail, and this film is a fantastical time in England. It’s not pegged to a particular time in history, and it deals with fun and broad characters,” the “X-Men” auteur said.
“Jack” — which counts among its writers Singer’s “Usual Suspects” and “Valkyrie” collaborator Christopher McQuarrie — plays off an English fairy tale of unknown origin. In many of the incarnations, it involves a poor country boy who slays evil giants during King Arthur’s reign. (It’s often associated with the fairy tale of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, in which the hero also faces off with a giant.) Singer’s take on the archetype centers on a farmhand who accidentally opens a door between worlds allowing non-human giants into our universe, in turn motivating Jack to attempt to slay the giants and rescue a princess to boot.
The battle between humans and nonhumans is bound to draw some comparisons to the “X-Men” franchise. But the filmmaker said that in at least one respect, his upcoming film deviates from his well-known superhero work. “It’s the first time in one of my films that there’s a romance that’s not fraught with a love triangle,” he said. Then he added, giving a small laugh, “The simpleness of this romance is my cure for all the love triangles that permeated the ‘X-Men.’ ”
“Jack the Giant Killer” stars Nicholas Hoult, who plays Beast in the new “X-Men” film, and Ian McShane, who just took a ride on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise as the villain Blackbeard. I spoke to McShane a few weeks ago, right on the eve of the “Pirates” premiere at Disneyland, and he was excited to bring out his good side in “Jack” as a king who is anxious for the rescue of his kidnapped daughter. “I’ll be playing a good guy in this one, a goodly king, if there is such a thing as a goodly king. What was that Diderot quote? ‘Man will never be free until the last king is strangled by the entrails of the last priest.’ I’ve always liked that quote.”
— Geoff Boucher
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