Bryan Singer is joining the latest Hollywood craze with his own fairy tale “re-imagining,” Jack the Giant Killer. Like the trio of upcoming Snow White movies, as well as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, the X-Men director’s new project refashions a classic bit of folklore (in this case “Jack and the Beanstalk”) as a more complex, action-heavy adventure tale.
Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class) landed the titular role of Jack a few weeks ago, and now the film also has its female lead in the form of nineteen-year-old English actress, Eleanor Tomlinson.
That name probably doesn’t ring a bell, but Miss Tomlinson’s been in showbiz for several years now, having played the younger version of Jessica Biel’s character in The Illusionist and popped up as Fiona Chattaway in last year’s Alice in Wonderland. Deadline says that Tomlinson was selected by Singer after an extensive search, and that she’ll soon set off to London, where filming on Jack the Giant Killer will be getting underway this month.
Tomlinson could be the latest young starlet whose career is kicked into gear by starring in a piece of big-budget Hollywood spectacle, following in the footsteps of Mia Wasikowska from Alice and Clash of the Titan‘s Gemma Arterton (who, admittedly, did appear in Quantum of Solace before that). Wasikowska seems more inclined to have a future in small scale-fare like Jane Eyre and Chan-wook Park’s Stoker, whereas Arterton will next star in both Wrath of the Titans and the previously mentioned Hansel & Gretel flick. So it remains to be seen which route Tomlinson goes after appearing in Singer’s Giant Killer.
The plot of Jack the Giant Killer is set in motion when the princess Isabella (Tomlinson) flees from her kingdom and is seemingly kidnapped by a “vicious” two-headed giant (John Kassir and Bill Nighy) – but not before she runs into the simple son of a farmer, Jack (Hoult), who thereafter sets out to rescue his would (or could) be true love, breaking a long-standing peace between humans and giants in the process.
Additional members of the solid cast include Stanley Tucci as the king’s villainous advisor (these fairy tale royalty really do tend to be poor judges of character), and possibly Ewan McGregor as the heroic captain of the guard, who is also a skilled giant slayer. Jack the Giant Killer was scripted by Christopher McQuarrie, marking his third collaboration with Singer after The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie. That also means the pair either have two home runs under their belts or are 1 for 2, depending on your feelings about their Tom Cruise-starring W.W. II thriller.
Bigger production values and multi-headed CGI giants aside, Jack the Giant Killer otherwise sounds like a pretty basic fantasy adventure, complete with standard Disney fairy tale character tropes, like the princess who yearns for a life less ordinary, a hero from humble beginnings, and the dastardly villain looking to seize power after years of servitude. In the hands of Bryan Singer, though, it’s one familiar story that could be worth revisiting.
Jack the Giant Killer is expected to reach theaters by 2012.