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What if JACK THE GIANT SLAYER Had Been Darker? An Interview with Concept Artist Dominic Lavery

Check out Jack the Giant Slayer concept art and interview with Dominic Lavery!

Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer is a box office failure and cost the studio millions. One source said the problem was the confusing mix of dark and light elements. "The director started out making an edgy R-rated film with violence," explained one talent agent to Vulture, "And the studio changed mid-stream and tried to make it a family film."

Unfortunately, a rival studio’s vice-chairman said, this was "real ratings confusion: Its DNA is 'kids' despite its cast or director, and it ended up PG-13."

I personally thought it could have been a little darker, but didn't need an R-rating. Dominic Lavery, one of the concept artists, had some of his work rejected because it was "too dark."

Could it have saved the film?

Lavery is a professional freelance concept artist and director who's worked on Hollywood films like Hugo (2011), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003). He agreed to do an interview and allowed me to share his artwork from the film.

Check out the rest of the pictures after the jump (click to enlarge).

Thanks for the interview Dom. Tell us about your journey to working on Jack the Giant Slayer.
I have worked with Gavin Bouquet the production designer, on a number films over the years and he got me started on the project more or less when he started. I was involved with the film for over a year in the end. Even managed to squeeze in working on Hugo in the middle when Jack was put on hold for a few months.

In that time I concepted many elements of the film. As with most films, a lot did not make it onto the screen but many did. At first I worked solidly on the beanstalk. I think it was about three months just sketching and refining it as both physical and digital elements would have to be built.

What's the best thing about being a concept artist on a film like this?
One of the best things about being a film concept artist is that you get to work on many different aspects of the film. Whether it is a large set, creature, vehicle or a small knife (in the giants case a large knife) that sits on a table. A film like Jack the Giant Slayer needed allot of concepting.

Is there something you really liked that didn't end in the film?
Well, as you could imagine, in the time we all worked on the film, there was many items, sets etc that never made in onto the screen. There was allot of work done on the giant's world of Gantua that unfortunately due to screen time, cost and script changes had to fall into the great bucket of concept waste. Many very talented artists had a part to play in visualising Gantua.

Some of the architecture designs were great fun to sketch out. With Gavin's guidance we all worked out how the giants farmed and stored their food (mainly piggies) and also transported it around on huge pulley systems.

I also did some work for a few weeks on the giants but that was taken over by the VFX guys. My visions were maybe a bit too dark and 'icky' for the final feel of the film.

The biggest challenge must have been the beanstalk. It had to work on so many levels. Scale, texture colour, density of leaves, thickness of stalks etc The way the physical build would match the digital model. It really was a Giant undertaking. So many people in many departments were involved. Just so you know, the whole base of the beanstalk and the farm as well as the sections of beanstalk used for action sequences were built full scale on location and in studio...amazing.

This is only a sample. See more of Dominic Lavery's incredible work at krop.com/domlavery

Click on the links if you want to see more of Dominic Lavery's work and Jack the Giant Slayer on my blog.

What do you think of the illustrations? Should Jack the Giant Slayer have been darker?

Official Jack the Giant Slayer Synopsis
Jack the Giant Slayer tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack, into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend—and gets the chance to become a legend himself.

Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and John Kassir
Cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel
Production Design by Gavin Bocquet

Official Site: jackthegiantslayer.warnerbros.com

Release date: March 1, 2013

What do you think of the illustrations?

@ Copyright 2013 New Line Cinema, Legendary Pictures, Original Film. All rights reserved
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Write by: Arek - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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