November 14, 2011

The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas finally answers the curious question of how Santa Claus delivers presents to every child around the world, in just one night. Earlier today, Collider had the opportunity to speak with ultra-talented British actor Bill Nighy, who voices the naughty Grandsanta, a crotchety 136-year-old that has been put out to pasture, along with his old-fashioned, classic Christmas traditions. While we will run that portion of the interview closer to the film’s November 23rd release date, we wanted to share what he had to say about some of the highly anticipated projects he has for 2012.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Bill Nighy talked about playing a 22-foot tall giant who eats people in Jack the Giant Killer, how much he enjoyed working with director Bryan Singer, and how difficult it is to keep a straight face while looking ridiculous in a motion capture suit. He also talked about playing Hephaestus, the armorer to the Gods, in Clash of the Titans 2, and his trust in Len Wiseman as a storyteller, for the remake of Total Recall, in which he plays Kuato. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

bill-nighy-imageQuestion: You recently shot both Jack the Giant Killer and Clash of the Titans 2. Who do you play in those films, and what were those experiences like?

BILL NIGHY: In Jack the Giant Killer, I am the giant. I’m 22 feet tall and I eat people. It was very good fun. Bryan Singer was directing, who I worked with before on Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, which was a very good experience and I was happy to work with him again. There are a bunch of very, very good English actors in it. Ewan McGregor is in it, Nicholas Hoult is playing Jack, and Stanley Tucci plays the troublesome Roderick. He’s a brilliant man. It was a very nice experience, although it was quite difficult to keep a straight face. Obviously, it’s motion capture, so you wore a black vinyl jumpsuit with a zip up the front and trainers, which I’m never quite relaxed in, and a helmet with cameras attached that come down to your chin and basically shoot up your nose. It’s not a good look. But, after the first couple of days, they run out of jokes. You just have to not look at the other giants because otherwise you’d laugh. But, it was a very cool experience.

In Clash of the Titans 2, I play Hephaestus, who is armorer to the Gods. I make all the weapons, I live in a cave, and I fell from Mt. Olympus. It’s not in the movie, but in the myth, Zeus, who was his father, threw him out of Mt. Olympus because he was lame, and he fell for seven days, which didn’t improve his limp. It’s a very nice character and we had a very good time. We were above the cloud on a volcano, looking down on a carpet of white cloud in Spain, on a very beautiful landscape, which quite easily resembles the ancient world. It was quite an experience.

bill-nighy-image-2How did your involvement playing Kuato in the remake of Total Recall come about, and how will this compare to the original film?

NIGHY: The original is treasured by people, I know, but I think I can help them relax. I think it’s in very, very good hands. I’ve worked with Len Wiseman before, on the Underworld series, in which I was a vampire. The first two of those were his first two films. And, I admire him beyond measure. I think he’s tremendous, as a man and as a director. It’s a cliche, but he can really tell a story. With Die Hard 4, he did a brilliant job. If Total Recall is going to be remade, I think it’s in very good, beyond safe, really brilliant hands.

The script is fabulous. I like sci-fi. I’m not keen on monsters from outer space, or that kind of thing, too much, although I’ll go with it, in certain cases. But, I love imaginative representations of a possible near-future, where you look at the technology and you think, “Well, yeah, that could really nearly be true.” I like those kinds of backgrounds. And, it’s a cracking script. Colin [Farrell], Jessica [Biel], Bryan Cranston and Kate Beckinsale are a pretty hot cast. I look forward to seeing that, even though I’m in it. I hate seeing films I’m in, but I think I’m going to have to watch it because I want to see it so bad.


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