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JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

The Hero and the Girl
Jack: I like a good adventure.
Isabelle: I'm looking for an adventure of my own.

Jack and Isabelle have much in common, starting with a desire to see more of the world than their very different -- but equally circumscribed -- lives will allow. To illustrate this, the film intercuts scenes, early on, in which Jack is berated by his stern uncle while Isabelle is lectured by her father for the same perceived failing: being incorrigible dreamers.

Says Singer, "Jack is a young man who might have made more of himself if not for the fact that he was orphaned as a boy and had to go live with his uncle and work their plot of land. He probably wanted to be a hero once, but now he just dreams of getting off the farm.

"We needed a strong, charismatic leading man who could still convey the innocence of a guy like Jack, who knows very little about the world," he continues. "Nick is not only a talented actor, he's also very funny. So, through the course of the story, he was able to take Jack from being shy and vulnerable to becoming the champion he needs to be, and also handle the humor that comes of his figuring it out along the way."

"Things never quite go as planned for Jack, but he always lands on his feet," offers Hoult. "He's a good person and he's willing to try his best, and that's really the point. When he falls for the princess and knows she's in trouble, his only thought is to help."

If Jack isn't quite at home in the hero role at first, neither is Isabelle comfortable with the identity she inherited, especially its restrictions.

"Not your average princess," offers Eleanor Tomlinson, as the royal rebel. "She's strong-willed and nonconformist. She doesn't want the pomp and protocol and all that comes along with being the daughter of a king, and only experiencing life from behind stone walls, which is why she runs away from the palace every chance she gets. She'd rather be a normal girl."

At the same time, Tomlinson and Singer balanced Isabelle's liberated aspirations and outward edge with a natural tenderness and compassion, making her all the more a fitting match for her yet-unspoken suitor. Tomlinson explains, "She loves her father and understands how he feels, having lost her mother years ago. That's one of the things I liked about the script. With all this madness going on -- the action and effects and the giants -- it's still about people and relationships, and there's more than one emotional story at its core."

"Eleanor brought all these qualities to the fore with consummate grace: the tomboy who lives to take chances and yet never forgets her dignity and true calling. She looked great disguised in squires' clothes or utterly glamorous as a princess," says Singer.

"These are people who are meant to be together," he concludes. "They're two adventurous souls on the cusp of adulthood, who share a yearning to be free, and their paths are about to cross."

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