Last week I had an amazing opportunity. I was able to go to Los Angeles as part of Disney’s #TheBFGEvent and walk the red carpet at the world premiere as well as interview talent from the movie including the up and coming Ruby Barnhill (Sophie) and the spectacular Director Steven Spielberg. We also interviewed Mark Rylance (The BFG) and Jermaine Clement (FleshLumpEater). It was so fun to see them and hear them talk about the film and I get to share that interview with you today.
We asked Mark how he got into character every day to play The BFG. Mark told us in his accent “Oh. Well every morning it took about an hour and a half of them sticking glow in the dark marbles on us and battery packs and having a lot of painted dots painted on, about 45 minutes of having dots painted on your face through a … like a hockey mask, a tight hockey mask. So there was a lot of time to think and listen to music or just get yourself in a certain head space but apart from that I don’t know how you prepare but it’s just playful, you know it’s the same as ever, you just start to play like a child really. You think what do I need, here comes a 50-foot giant into my cave who’s gonna eat my little friend, I need to distract him, what am I gonna do? So it’s clear rules to the game and you just start to play. I mean what was fun for us was in motion capture. There’s no cameras, there’s no marks, there’s just like a playground isn’t there, you just start to play and imagine it and speak the lines.”
This lead directly into the next question “How hard is it to speak giant?” Mark answers “Very hard. Very hard indeed yeah, I don’t think there are any actors in the world that could have done what Jemaine and I have done.” and Jermaine adds “What is that actually, it’s improvising in giant”. Which was so funny. And Mark turns to him and says “Improvising in giant, yeah it’s like improving in Shakespeare, it’s tricky. I’ve heard people who can do that actually very well, can improvise sonnets. You can say I wanna sonnet on a fried egg and they will improvise a Shakespearean sonnet on a fried egg, they’re from Liverpool. But improvising in giant is a little tricky.”
Mark also told us “my favorite word I’ve decided is telly-telly bunkum box. I think that’s such a good word for the television.” We asked him if he uses it on a regular basis now and he said “I will now. I am lately yeah.” and then Mark asked us “Are you all happy about your kids having the whizzpopper word?” We told him it was okay – we didn’t mind, and he told us “An English mom just told me that her son went in with a story and it included the word fart and the teacher rejected the story and said other parents would be really offended, that fart was a swear word, I don’t think fart’s a swear word. Is whizzpopper a better word?” he asked. Jemaine added “I think it’s better. For people to have known what it is they have to have read a book.”
We asked Jemaine how much fun he had playing the role of FleshLumpEater because he’s very scary but at the same time he’s hilarious. Jemaine answered “He’s really fun, he’s really fun. Matt was filming all the time, the bad giants we would get to rehearse our motion capture and just walking around like big, lumbering lumps of meat and that was really fun and smashing things and intimidating people and being stupid is fun.”
Mark told us that his son was the one that helped him find his “BFG” voice. “My son really loves it. He helped me a lot actually. I read him the book again when we got to Vancouver, he’d already heard it but if he didn’t like the voice he’d go, no the other voice, and that’s how I found the voice. He’d guide me.” I loved hearing that, and that his son was a part of the film that way.
We asked Jemaine if there was a particular scene he enjoyed filming most and he told us “Oh, I think the first time that I come and see Mark in his cave. And I love that part where I ask if you’re there and you say no.” he says as he turns to Mark. Mark replies “Yeah I love that.” I have to tell you that was such a funny part of the movie and you and your family will love it as much as we do!
We wanted to know how much they got to adlib during the movie. Jemaine told us “Little parts like that part was adlibbed. But again the vocabulary reins you in a lot.” Mark turned to Jemaine and said “Yeah I think we adlibbed because he’s a genius adlibber and a lot of the giants actually were really clever improvisers and comedians and stuff so there was a lot of space. Steven wanted the bad giants to expand from what Roald Dahl had written and each of them to have characters and things like that. But I think Sophie and I stuck pretty closely to the script that Melissa had written, the adaptation of the book. I don’t think we improvised much. I probably put in lots of little noises and things like that between the lines, yeah.”
We asked Mark if he had a favorite scene with Sophie. He told us “Oh, so many of them. Someone asked me on television this morning what was one of the difficult things about being BFG and the most difficult thing is letting a young person go isn’t it? That every parent has to do. My parents are both high school teachers so every year, I would know that there were favorite kids that really resonated to their work or were witty or just wonderful kids and it was always sad every year that those kids had to go off to college and to marriage and their lives. So that thing of being an adult who really loves a young person, and if you really love them you have to encourage them to leave you and to go away. That is a scene I love very, very much. It’s on the hill at the end and she doesn’t even want to go away, she thinks she’s gonna stay and live there, but he knows that she’s got a wider life to lead. She’s mortal of course and he’s immortal so I was thinking the other day, I that the sequel I’d like to see would be when Sophie’s a 90 year old woman and she’s had a family and maybe she has a grandchild and the BFG still visits her, he’s the same of course. He visits her maybe in her old people’s home and that friendship after she lived her whole life, that would be quite resonant wouldn’t it?”
That would really be amazing! I think the show definitely needs a few sequels since there is so much that they could do with it.
Because the movie has such a strong message, we wanted to know what they wanted kids to take away from the movie and what they hope their reaction is. Mark answered saying “I think that the film tells a story of what kids have to offer older people, that older people get tired, they lose faith, they think maybe the world is just a jungle, a dog eat dog kinda thing and nothing will change so best to just do the best I can, give some money to charity,be kind to some people, but the big problems, nothing’s gonna change and we get tired. Young people don’t have this, there’s still the bravery and the hope like Sophie does to say, no I think we don’t have to put up with this, we can stop these people eating kids, let’s go to the Queen. There’s such a lot of criticism of young people and things seem so hard, certainly for my daughters, life looks so difficult and hard but they’re so essential and that they keep their bravery and hope and don’t get pressed down by the fears and the apathy of older people. It’s not their fault we’re just tired, but I think that young people can change things, things can change you know? So that’s a good thing. I also think that you can get into phases as a young person where you feel really alone like Sophie does, and isolated or with no friends but the thing that happens to her because of that is she develops this great imagination, and when she does meet a friend, it’s her imagination that’s able to really solve the situation. There are good things even in the worst situation. So many great adults have grown out of very difficult childhoods where they’ve been bullied or they’re been poor or they’ve been lonely or isolated and, not to give up hope in those situations I guess. I would have said that to myself when I had difficult times when I felt bullied or whatever. But those are the times that it’s like Bob Dylan says, where did his imagination come from people ask him, he said, well if you sit in a house for seven months of the year looking out at freezing cold snowy weather in Minnesota you develop an imagination. So there’s good things in that kind of apparently bad situation.” and then he smiled and said “Sorry that’s the long answer.” I felt like it was a great response and so true! Thanks for the great food for thought Mark.
We asked if they prefer voice acting over on-screen acting, Mark answered “Voice acting, that’s interesting, what’s that?” it was so funny, he is cute! Jemaine steps in with “Well this isn’t actually voice acting ‘cause we wear these suits…” and so we rephrased the question to being on screen as opposed to CGI animation and mark answered “Oh I see. It’s more to do with the people you’re working with to be honest than the technology or the medium. I’ve acted in operas, in the Globe Theater, in stone circles, in little church halls, in my basement for many years.” But as long as the people one’s working with are playful and not too panicked if you make mistakes, but can see that mistakes often are a new doorway into something new, better.” I think this was a great answer. Basically it doesn’t matter which one, but who he is with during the movie.
we asked Jemaine “you really can’t have redemption without having a great villain and Disney stories are known for their heroes and their villains and both of them are seared into our memory so, what kind of went into creating this villain that was gonna scare kids but yet they know that that’s part of the redemption story?” Jemaine looked at us and answered “Oh boy that’s a difficult question.” then he turned to Mark and said “What would– how would you– you’re good at these kind of questions.” and Mark deffered back to Jemaine, so he answered “You know I think one part of this villain is the bad giants are kind of a satire of adults and that they’re very stuck in their ways and fearful of things and they’re so stupid that they’re dangerous, you know without realizing it. And it can be funny but also there’s no reasoning with these characters because they won’t understand and they don’t care. And there’s no redemption from these villains. It’s really for the BFG’s character, he needs Sophie to help him overcome them.”
Mark then chimed in with “Melissa Matheson who so sadly died, she did research into giants and she was of the impression that at one time the giants didn’t eat kids, didn’t eat people, they actually were warriors who fought with the people I think against the Romans. That’s the kind of mythology of it, with the Druids and Boadicea, the great female warrior of England, but maybe it’s even earlier times than that. They’ve fallen into a decadent period so I guess the hope is that with a little bit of dietary control on that terrible island they’re put on, put on a vegetarian diet, maybe they’ll change their habits. I don’t know. It leaves open the possibility of a sequel doesn’t it, that island.”
This part is so true. I really hope they make a second and third one. This is such a great story and I am in love with the characters.
The last question went to Jemaine who was asked “you have a younger son, what do you want him to get out of this movie?” Jemaine answered “As Mark said it’s a lot about letting children know that their thoughts are valid. And they can have an opinion that’s important as well.”
This was a great interview that gave me a lot of insights into the movie and their background. Go see the movie this weekend. It is SOOO Good!
This interview was fun and filled with laughter. Mark and Jemaine are great together and we really hope to see them in a sequel soon! Disney’s The BFG movie comes out Friday July 1, 2016! Here is the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet:
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THE BFG hits theaters everywhere on July 1st!
Today we shared our interview with Mark Rylance (The BFG) and Jemaine Clement (Fleshlumpeater) about Disney’s The BFG movie. Yesterday we shared our interview with Steven Spielberg and Ruby Barnhill. This week we will be sharing more interviews with the cast of the movie as well as other fun things we were able to do on the trip. Stay posted!
This trip is sponsored by Disney. This does not affect my opinions and they are 100% my own.