JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
Design: Think 12th Century... More or Less
"We were pushing things a little bit beyond strict reality," says production designer Gavin Bocquet. "We're based in a medieval time but not any medieval time any historian would recognize. Cloister was meant to be the archetypal English hamlet but it's a fantasized version of that because we know people didn't live as well as they are portrayed in our world. You could call it a historical fantasy where the impact of everything is just bigger and more harmonious and beautiful."
Conversely, Singer's vision of the giants' fortress was "ancient and primitive, crudely built, with lots of stone. It's a culture based on eating, because these beasts require a lot of food, so we focused on large areas where they could feed, primarily a converted throne room with massive, long tables," the director says.
Although the giants and everything they have built for themselves is four times normal size, from their dwelling and furniture to their tools and armor and utensils, the land they inhabit is not, itself, an extra-large environment -- a fact that likely contributes to their perpetual unrest. Bocquet confirms, "It's not a giant world. The idea is that Gantua was originally torn from the Earth at the time of its creation so their land should resemble the Earth. It's human-sized and they are the anomaly. To them, a tree is like a twig, a whole sheep is just a bite and everything they make requires an inordinate amount of material."
Shuttling between the two worlds, Bocquet and set decorator Richard Roberts created both normal and supersized props. "In any film with visual effects enhancements we don't presume we're designing only the elements that get built full-sized," the designer says. "The concepts have to be comprehensive in the big picture, then, at some point it's decided what will be virtual and what will be utilized on a set."
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