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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Benedict Cumberbatch in TotalFilm Magazine
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Oleander Took

Aug 1 2011, 6:00pm

Post #1 of 26 (1811 views)
Benedict Cumberbatch in TotalFilm Magazine Can't Post

In september's issue there's a small interview, where he talks about his new movie and The Hobbit.

credit goes to http://twitter.com/#!/cumberbatchweb/status/97454756733255680 for the scan

(This post was edited by Oleander Took on Aug 1 2011, 6:04pm)


Aug 1 2011, 6:11pm

Post #2 of 26 (914 views)
What? [In reply to] Can't Post

Tie his legs together?

I'm a little lost here... are they going to literally make smaug a giant snake?


Aug 1 2011, 6:18pm

Post #3 of 26 (873 views)
No - he has to have wings [In reply to] Can't Post

...but it looks as if they're going for a 'wyrm' - a more serpentine dragon, like the one Tolkien himself drew and the John Howe and Alan Lee illustrations, rather than the more bulky 'dinosaur' type.


Aug 1 2011, 6:24pm

Post #4 of 26 (859 views)
I guess.. [In reply to] Can't Post

but it sounds as if he wont have legs at all... which does not sound good IMO


Aug 1 2011, 6:47pm

Post #5 of 26 (815 views)
Oh, I don't think so... [In reply to] Can't Post

... look at the last part of the comment, about having his legs splayed out like a reptile's should be. I think he's trying to imagine ways in which a human can motion capture a dragon without the dragon ending up looking too human. After all, he isn't even in New Zealand yet so he won't have seen the designs or anything. I'm sure Smaug will have legs, just not human legs!

Grey Havens

Aug 1 2011, 6:50pm

Post #6 of 26 (805 views)
The way I took it [In reply to] Can't Post

They'd tie his legs together to create the illusion of a longer body. I don't think Smaug's back legs would really require much motion capturing, so Cumberbatch wouldn't have to use his own.

Anyway, this is very interesting, and the repetetive use of the word "serpent" to describe Smaug has me extremely happy.

(This post was edited by duats on Aug 1 2011, 6:51pm)


Aug 1 2011, 6:54pm

Post #7 of 26 (781 views)
Hmmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm definitely glad that they are going for something more sinister and in line with the Wyrm concept.... but the legs being tied together sounds fishy to me.

I can see less substantial legs.. hopefully he means to tie them together to restrict their overall movement and not to make them disappear entirely.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Aug 1 2011, 7:03pm

Post #8 of 26 (791 views)
It sounds to me like [In reply to] Can't Post

he doesn't actually know how they're going to do it and he's just speculating at the time of the interview. But presumably he is doing his speculating based on a concept drawing or some such thing, so it does sound like Smaug is going to be a long and slender type rather than dinosaur-like.


"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


Aug 1 2011, 7:08pm

Post #9 of 26 (808 views)
Dry British humor [In reply to] Can't Post

I assumed he was making a joke. But I guess actors have done stranger things trying to get into character.


Aug 1 2011, 7:52pm

Post #10 of 26 (739 views)
That's a good thing [In reply to] Can't Post

I am delighted to hear that we will not be getting the cliched, fantasy-art dragon, which is basically a dinosaur with wings.

Of greater interest is: who is the alleged 2nd villain that he will be playing? Is it the Necromancer?


Aug 1 2011, 8:30pm

Post #11 of 26 (673 views)
It's a jest.// [In reply to] Can't Post



Aug 1 2011, 8:31pm

Post #12 of 26 (721 views)
He's joking around. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

I read his comments here as being totally tounge in cheek.
Having a human do total body motion capture for a dragon sounds a little silly to me.


Aug 1 2011, 8:34pm

Post #13 of 26 (699 views)
That was the initial report. [In reply to] Can't Post

Smaug and Necromancer. Not sure if the Necromancer was confirmed.


Aug 1 2011, 8:43pm

Post #14 of 26 (699 views)
He's Messin' with us. [In reply to] Can't Post

I imagine that he will probably just do the Face of Smaug, exactly like the Facial MO-Cap of Andy's face as Gollum we saw in the VBogs....

I don't feel body movement is really truely important, since I believe they are gunna buid a Huge Smaug Animentronic, like TreeBeard.

"This Puppet Biggature"...version of Smaug could end up in Museums all over the WORLD....at OpeningNight in Wellington, At OpeningNight in London, Opening Night in StockHolm, Opening Night in LA...

"It may cost alot to build.... but it has Lifetime of Ticket sales ahead of it." xoxoOB


Aug 1 2011, 9:05pm

Post #15 of 26 (673 views)
Not confirmed [In reply to] Can't Post

It has not been confirmed that Cumberbatch is voicing the Necromancer--I think the interviewer was trying to casually trick him into giving away an answer, even if that answer came in the form of "2 villains!? What are you talking about?". He's a pretty cool customer not to have fallen for it.

Tol Eressea

Aug 1 2011, 9:06pm

Post #16 of 26 (687 views)
LOL [In reply to] Can't Post

Looking forward to motion capture my bottom!!! Motion capture for The Necromancer, possibly....(however I dont think PJ will depict him with any shape, and even then it would probably ruin the film)

"But the other two Istari were sent for a different purpose. Morinethar's and Rómestámo's task was to circumvent Sauron, to bring help to the few tribes of Men that had rebelled from Melkor-worship, to stir up rebellion and after his first fall to search out his hiding and to cause dissension and disarray among the dark East. They must have had very great influence on the history of the Second age and Third age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East who would both in the Second age and Third age otherwise have outnumbered the West."


Aug 1 2011, 9:57pm

Post #17 of 26 (671 views)
Bob Hoskins did body motion capture for the dragon in Beowulf... [In reply to] Can't Post

which is fun to watch... It's not about what movement is needed, but minimising the work for animators as much as possible. Speaking as an animator, we need as much reference as possible, so full-body motion may not be a joke (although, it likely is).

I expected they'd achieve it like the banshees in Avatar, though. By motion-capturing large blue puppets. It worked incredibly well and gives it that unique something which animating alone just can't achieve.


Aug 1 2011, 11:51pm

Post #18 of 26 (607 views)
Slinky???????? [In reply to] Can't Post

Where they heck did that come from? I wasn't aware slinkies had been invented in Middle-earth.

As for mo-capping a human for a dragon, it may not be for all of the motion, but they definitely want to make sure they get the interaction between Bilbo and Smaug correct. There is a big difference between a large creature turning towards you in surprise versus anger, or of stretching out versus showing off it's belly to an invisible visitor,so they will want the performance angle added into the mix when they build the animation. They want to capture the correct purpose behind the motion, not the humaness of it. It's the actors job, and the director, to get the performance as close to what they are looking for as possible so the animators have a good palette to work with.

Peace, Love and Rock & Roll,

The orange stripey One

Cruise to Middle-earth

Tol Eressea

Aug 2 2011, 4:05am

Post #19 of 26 (569 views)
its for the Necromancer not Smaug! [In reply to] Can't Post

i believe the motion-capture suit is intended for the Necromancer but he does not want to spill those beans just yet...


Aug 2 2011, 11:07am

Post #20 of 26 (468 views)
lol, I meant Ray Winstone! [In reply to] Can't Post

Got confused with Christmas Carol apparently?

Tol Eressea

Aug 2 2011, 2:11pm

Post #21 of 26 (477 views)
Uh-oh [In reply to] Can't Post

This has compounded my concerns that Smaug will be in some way 'humanised' to enable the incorporation of Cumberbatch's facial movements – I would really prefer Weta to go the Pixar route and manually animate Smaug, making him move the way a dragon should move rather than attempting to transfer human movements into a dragon body. I'm quite sure that Cumberbatch is joking when he says they'll be tying up his legs so they can mo-cap him as a serpent – if they actually did that, he would be practically unable to move, which would make the mo-cap data useless. Now that I think of it, if the filmmakers retain the 'small foreclaws' design idea, they could try motion-capturing Cumberbatch's gesticulations while he's acting out the scene and using them as a reference for the dragon's gestures... but I fear the head and face of a serpentine dragon are simply too inhuman for facial mo-cap to provide anything useful, unless – shudder – they decide to humanise Smaug's face.


Aug 2 2011, 5:11pm

Post #22 of 26 (466 views)
Here is an image from Weta that should put such fears to rest [In reply to] Can't Post

JK! (Actually I love Jane and the Dragon. The episode where Dragon develops an allergy and keeps burning crops by accident is pure gold.)

Back to the topic at hand, I see where you are coming from. Perhaps Cumberbatch was cast because of his serpentine face? And maybe Smaug will be revealed to be the Necromancer in disguise? Shape shifters all around!

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Aug 2 2011, 5:15pm)

Eowyn of Penns Woods

Aug 2 2011, 5:37pm

Post #23 of 26 (426 views)
Gee, I hope you haven't raised the bar too high with that. ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

I love that show! I can't stand most kids' programming, but this one strikes the perfect balance and looks great, too.


Who's the coverdwarf now, prettyboy!

Not a TORns*b!
Certified Curmudgeon
Knitting Knerd
NARF: NWtS Chapter Member since June 17,2011


Aug 2 2011, 11:17pm

Post #24 of 26 (381 views)
Or maybe they'll try a minimalist approach... [In reply to] Can't Post


I'm a big fan of 'How To Train Your Dragon'...

(This post was edited by sueb1863 on Aug 2 2011, 11:18pm)

Grey Havens

Aug 3 2011, 1:41am

Post #25 of 26 (383 views)
That particular scene always cracks me up! [In reply to] Can't Post

Toothless reminds me of one of my aunt's cats. Laugh

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

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