Though she’s been in the movie business for a few years now, relative newcomer Eleanor Tomlinson said she feels like she’s walking on air lately, and for good reason. After all, it’s not every day where you get an opportunity to star in a towering film like “Jack the Giant Slayer,” director Bryan Singer’s re-imagined take on the classic folktale “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
“This is my big break. It’s so exciting. It’s been a roller coaster ride every minute since I got the job,” Tomlinson, 20, told me in a recent call from London. “I’ve loved absolutely every minute of it. It’s taken me on a fantastic journey and I’ve met some brilliant and beautiful people. In a way, I’m sad to see it’s all coming to an end, yet I am excited to see where it might lead.”
Tomlinson stars as Princess Isabelle, the headstrong daughter of King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) whose adventurous nature leads her to the doorstep of Jack (Nicholas Hoult) — a poor farmhand who has just unwittingly secured a handful of magic beans.
Even though Jack’s been warned without reason to keep the beans away from water, one of them accidentally gets wet, creating a monolithic beanstalk that stretches skyward and stops at a gateway between Earth and the heavens. Unfortunately, that gateway is also inhabited by primitive giants who want to reignite a war against the descendants of the royalty who banished them — starting with Isabelle, who ascended the beanstalk while being trapped in Jack’s house.
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Opening in 2D, 3D and IMAX theaters nationwide on Friday, “Jack the Giant Slayer” also stars Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Eddie Marsan and the voice of Bill Nighy as the villainous giant General Fallon.
Tomlinson, who previously appeared in the supporting role of Fiona Chattaway in director Tim Burton’s blockbuster adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010, said she feels so fortunate to have worked with such acclaimed filmmakers as Burton and Singer.
“Tim is just such an amazing man to watch and in the same way so is Bryan. They’re just brilliant people to observe because their imaginations and their passions are so extreme,” Tomlinson enthused. “It’s hard to believe I’m even talking about this, saying, ‘Yeah, I’ve worked with Tim Burton’ and ‘Yeah, I am Bryan Singer’s leading lady.’ I still can’t get my head wrapped around it at all.”
Apart from the opportunity to work with Singer on “Jack the Giant Slayer,” Tomlinson said she absolutely had to be a part of the film because the script painted a much different picture of a movie princess than audiences are used to seeing.
“Isabelle is different from other princesses — she’s feisty and she wants to prove that she’s independent, and she’s willing to go out of her way to show that to her father,” Tomlinson said. “She doesn’t just want to be a piece of history, and doesn’t want to be married off to some lord (played by Tucci) that she doesn’t love — she’s not a girl waiting in a tower to be rescued.”
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In many ways, Tomlinson said, Isabelle’s tale is similar to Jack — who’s not your stereotypical hero, either.
“He’s not a naturally, ripped hunk, he’s just a farm boy who is very kind and humble, but looking for an adventure of his own, and she’s just a princess who happens to be looking for an adventure of her own,” Tomlinson said. “She’s not taken seriously until she proves herself by running away, but unfortunately, for her, she gets taken up a beanstalk.”
Tomlinson said Hoult — who previously starred in “X-Men First Class” and more recently, “Warm Bodies” — was just as warm and generous in person as his character.
“He’s just an absolute gem to work with — he’s quite lovely. He’s a brilliant friend at the same time, and gives you so much to work with as a performer. I think Jack and Isabelle’s relationship shines through so clearly on screen because Nick and I are such good mates as well,” Tomlinson observed. “I can’t imagine not getting on with a co-star. It must be absolute hell if you don’t get along with your co-star, particularly if you already have the pressure of such an enormous movie on your shoulders, so I’m blessed.”