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When I talked to Rhys Ifans yesterday about his impressive star turn in the new drama Anonymous, I swear I wasn't going to bring up Spider-Man. Yes, the British actor is playing the villainous Lizard in next year's The Amazing Spider-Man, and yes, no matter how well Anonymous does, it's likely to be seen by but a fraction of the global audience who turns out for Spidey. I know it's what the people want to hear about, but you have to try and stay on topic when talking to someone who is both currently promoting a different movie and can't talk much about his heavily secret superhero movie anyway.
But then we got to talking about the costumes in Anonymous, how the 16th century cloaks and swords he wears as the Earl of Oxford-- a man who many believe was the true author of Shakespeare's plays-- helped him define the character. It seemed a perfect moment to ask about the CGI motion-capture suit he wore for some scenes as The Lizard, when Dr. Curt Connors transforms into the nine-foot high beast. And to my surprise, Ifans was actually glad to talk about the experience of wearing the suit, of insisting on standing in for the CGI Lizard on set, and how his own facial expressions will translate into the character. Take a look below.
The majority of the time I'm me, I'm a human, not a Lizard. That's hard enough. I did have the CGi suit for certain scenes. The Lizard is 9 feet tall. There was one day that I went on set and they had a double, a big big guy, playing me, as the Lizard. I looked at it and I went "No." Following that Marc [Webb, the director] let me know all the physicality, all the physicality you'll see in the Lizard is my own.
I love the mental image of Ifans on the set of this $200 million production, wearing cardboard on his head and a skintight green suit. Of course that's not what we'll see on the screen, but when the astonishing CGI Lizard arrives onscreen in The Amazing Spider-Man next summer, I hope the silly side of it pops into your head just a little.
I'll have much more from my great interview with Ifans when Anonymous gets closer to its October 28 release. In the meantime, you can catch up on everything else I've been up to at the Toronto Film Festival here.