‘Fantastic Four’ Motion-Capture Expert Explains How They Brought The Thing to Life
Even after the release of the official plot synopsis for Fox’s ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot, we’re still pretty much in the dark about the film. We know the casting by heart now, and we’ve learned some eyebrow-raising details about the revamped origins of Doctor Doom, but we haven’t seen or heard very much about ‘Fantastic Four’ or how director Josh Trank is approaching the younger cast of characters and their abilities. A new interview with one of the film’s motion capture experts helps to shed some light on at least one character in the film: The Thing, aka Ben Grimm, portrayed in this new version by Jamie Bell.
Aside from a leaked photo from the set of the new version of The Thing, we haven’t really seen anything from the new ‘Fantastic Four.’ But Movies.com had a chance to interview one of the guys working behind the scenes on the film, a “movement choreographer” named Terry Notary, who had some pretty interesting things to say about working with Jamie Bell on developing The Thing:
I was talking to Jamie about it and thought it was just a whiteface character. Everything is pulled out through the soul. There’s very, very little expression in the face, if any at all, so everything has to live through the soul and the eyes. Everything. The subtleties of the physicality when standing there…you’re a rock. You’re made of rock, so you can’t be super subtle but you can be if you sense that emotion coming out through the soul and the eyes.
We had him just holding this neutral expression and just pouring the soul out of his eyes while walking through this space, while obviously being grounded with weight and mass and gravitas that’s so important and does take a lot of work. It’s not something that comes easy. You have to create this sense of thick space and you’re carrying yourself with different parts of your body depending on the emotion of the character and the development of the character.
I mean, he’s a kid trapped in a rock, and so how does that kid become a man after that experience? Through that evolution and that journey he moves from this sort of worried place to his pack that carries him through. It’s figuring that stuff out and Jamie is just such a super-talented actor. He’s so physical and great with his body. He can really articulate emotions through his body well.
It’s a lot of acting talk, sure, but the work with Notary and Bell indicates that this version of The Thing is much more effects-driven than the previous films, where Michael Chiklis was wearing what amounted to a giant suit. Notary’s answer also implies that Trank is perhaps going for a bit more realism—if you were a dude made entirely of rock, you wouldn’t be able to express yourself and your emotions very well with your face, would you?
We’re eight months out from the release of ‘Fantastic Four,’ which hits theaters on August 7, 2015, so hopefully we’ll start seeing and hearing some more legitimate things from this film soon.