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The Beanstalk
Simultaneously a set and a symbol, the beanstalk itself is the crux of the story and one of the film's showcase pieces. It was also an artistic achievement composed of plywood, foam, plaster, rubber and visual effects. "There were two branches of it, one on either side of the stage, though not as far as it appeared on screen," says Singer. "So when Jack and Elmont cross from one to the other on a zip-line, they actually cover some distance. The actors were cabled, but yes, they did perform that stunt."

To prepare for their ascent, the actors practiced on a climbing wall built for them. Additionally, says Stanley Tucci, "We worked with harnesses and they showed us what was required for the scenes. It wasn't anything excruciating except that you're up there for an extended period of time with no immediate hope of coming down."

The physical portion of the vine had to photograph beautifully and look organic while at the same time being sturdy enough to be climbed and stood upon, and for the actors to interact with it. Even a detail as seemingly inconsequential as its individual leaves proved tricky. Says set decorator Richard Roberts, "They were made in all sizes by our prop masters, out of various materials, painted, glazed, and sometimes aged and worn so that they appeared individual. They had to flop naturally but if they were too delicate and floppy they couldn't hold their weight or wouldn't photograph well. We had hero leaves and background leaves; it was an extraordinary process." Vines, leaves and tendrils were additionally added or enhanced with CGI.

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