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I just got off the phone with Mark Strong, who has developed a reputation in the last few years for playing villainous roles (such as Sherlock Holmes's Lord Blackwood) but is in fact one of the nicest interviews I've ever done. Before we started talking about Holmes, we chatted a bit about John Carter of Mars, the upcoming Andrew Stanton-directed Disney film in which he'll play, you guessed it, a villain.
Filming has begun in Utah, but most of Strong's part will be filmed on soundstages outside of London. And even though there's some motion-capture animation going on, he won't be part of most of it, despite the fact that his character is a shape-shifter. He wasn't spilling any plot details or anything, but his enthusiasm about working with Stanton and explanation of how his character will work seemed worth sharing. Check back later for my full interview.
He's a genius. He's such a good storyteller. When I met him and he showed me the storyboards, the ideas for the sets and the designs for the characters, it's just absolutely mind-blowing. I can't wait to get involved with it. I said to him, how do you feel about live action? And he said it's going to be easy. As an animator, you literally have to invent everything. The color of the background, the size of people's noses. Whereas in live action, half the stuff is given, and you can embellish the rest with CGI.On his part:
There's some filming in Utah, but most of it is in a studio outside of London. My character doesn't actually get involved in any of the motion-capture stuff. All the stuff is live action. Although I can shift my shape, so I have to be photographed by a 360-degree camera. I can adapt into anything. That's going to be my particular talent. [I ask what he'll transform into] Other human beings mainly.