Jonathan Holmes discusses working on Stephen Spielberg’s BFG with FAULT Magazine

 

Veteran actor Jonathan Holmes plays a ferocious giant called Childchewer in Disney’s The BFG, the cinematic brainchild of figurative giants Roald Dahl and Stephen Spielberg.  In this interview, Holmes tells of his time as a giant among men.

 

FAULT: In playing a character from such a beloved book, did you feel any extra pressure or responsibility?

Jonathan: I think we all felt a huge sense of responsibility. But knowing we were in the hands of such an extraordinary creative team certainly gave us confidence.

 

FAULT: In The BFG, how were you guys able to shoot the interactions between giants and regular-sized people without relying on CGI characters?

Jonathan: Many of the scenes had to be shot in three different scales. And consequently shot three times. Giant scale, BFG scale (he’s half the size of the other giants), and human scale. So we would have various balls, poles, etc. to make sure our eyelines were correct. It was quite the operation!

 

FAULT: How much makeup did it take to turn you into such a convincing giant? Or were the effects added in editing?

Jonathan: All giants were shot using ‘performance capture’ technology. We had to wear tight suits with dots on them and dots all over our faces that picked up every nuance of our performance. The animators then animated to that.

FAULT: How did you approach playing such an unconventional character?

Jonathan: We were very fortunate to have a month or so of rehearsal to get used to the technology and to create these characters. Terry Notary, one of the pioneers of performance capture from the acting perspective, helped hugely in finding the physicality of these creatures. We spent a good deal of time improvising.

 

FAULT: How did your experience working with Steven Spielberg differ from your experiences working with other directors?

Jonathan: The main difference was the technology we used. Because the cameras would only pick up those of us who were ‘dotted’, Steven could direct us whilst actually being physically in the scene. Which, as you can imagine, was a huge thrill for all of us.

 

FAULT: What makes your character happy (besides eating children)?

Jonathan: A good hair day!

 

FAULT: Is there any food in the real world that you think tastes worse than a snozzcumber?

Jonathan: Overcooked vegetables. And marzipan.

 

FAULT: Is there anything else we can look forward to seeing you in?

Jonathan: I’m working on an animation series and a video game – but sadly I’m not able to tell you much more…

 

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Jonathan: I have a ten year old daughter who would tell you most things are my FAULT.

 

Words: Cody Fitzpatrick

Debby Ryan – our Style section cover for FAULT Issue 19

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FAULT Issue 19’s Style section cover star Debby Ryan was shot by Brian Ziff and styled by Avo Yermagyan.
Click here to order your copy of this issue!

Debby Ryan‘s staggering diversity as an artist sits nicely with a very healthy dose of natural talent and her near-zealous work ethic. It is the combination of these factors that marks Debby out as an anomaly in an age when so many of her peers seem content to reach a certain point before resting on their laurels. For Debby, it seems, her work has only just begun.

Ryan’s big break came in 2008 when she landed the role of Bailey on the Disney Channel’s original series ‘The Suite Life on Deck’. She now not only stars in Disney’s smash hit show ‘Jessie’, but has also produced, directed and written for the series.

This Summer the actress released a long-awaited debut album, One, with her band, The Never Ending. Featuring crystal clear vocals from Ryan, the simple, straightforward style with which she has launched her music career away from Disney has seen her gain widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike.

FAULT had the pleasure of spending the day with Debby on our exclusive shoot for Issue 19. We took the opportunity to pinpoint her various inspirations for tracks on her album, her direct involvement with changes to her character on ‘Jessie’ and what lies ahead for the star in the near future.

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Production by Zizi Zarkadas + Leah Blewitt

FAULT: You recently released your album One with your band, The Never Ending. How did you came up with your group’s name and how did you and your bandmates meet?

Debby: I was actually working on another music project and started writing a lot of songs with friends. Throughout the process these lyrics and melodies really started to develop as part of the collaboration, all of which really felt like “me” – not to sound cliché [laughs]!

It was definitely a passion project, bringing my songs, words and sounds all together and telling a story. Music to me is something that lasts longer than ourselves. The idea of being a successful musician or artist is really never-ending because you’re always growing and being inspired- so that is how the band name came about.

What’s it been like for you to basically grow up in the public eye? Do you ever get used to fame and to your fans being interested in what you do both on and off the screen?

Well, due to social media, things have changed a lot since I first started. There is definitely way more access to peoples lives. I’m inherently a private person – believe it or not. It’s funny to me what the media focuses on and things that make “the news” – like hair color changes [laughs]! Don’t get me wrong: I am truly blessed and I love my fans – it’s just [that] sometimes the assumptions people, [and] media make about you or [when they think] that they truly know you on a personal level….

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Interview by Leah Blewitt

How would you describe you own personal style?

I wear a a lot of black on black and I LOVE vintage. Definitely a laid back, comfortable style but always with a feminine touch. I love mixing and matching, taking basic black jeans and pairing a more casual piece from Topshop with a designer like Balenciaga.

What is your FAULT?

Well, if you asked my friends they will tell you [that] I’m the mom – or act like a mom! So hmm… I’d say taking in strays. I really love animals and just adopted another kitten recently.

I also take in drummers – my dummer is living with us as well [laughs]!

debby ryan - fault issue 19 (inside 3)

Get the full shoot and interview – only in FAULT Issue 19.
Click here to order your copy for delivery worldwide!

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 19 – The Millions Issue – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

FAULT Focus: Moises Arias, star of ‘The Kings Of Summer’, ‘Ender’s Game’ and ‘Hannah Montana’

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Moises was shot by Scott Council

 

FAULT spoke to Moises Arias on the day that he celebrated 9 years as an actor. Speaking over the phone from the set of his upcoming movie, Ender’s Game, he told of his surprise by how many accolades he had received at Sundance this year for his performance in The King’s Of Summer – Jordan Vogt-Roberts comedy about three unhappy boys with a plan to build a house in the wilderness and live off the land.

We talked about his part in Despicable Me 2, the short films he writes and directs, and about the 6 years he spent as Rico, the bully character in the Disney show, ‘Hannah Montana’, one of the biggest tween shows ever.

One could understand if all his success had given the 18 year old an insufferably inflated ego, but that wasn’t Moises. He was surprisingly articulate and humble. And it is surprising, as we have interviewed a lot of actors.

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Kings of Summer is out in the UK on July 26th

FAULT: As an actor, what do you look for when you get a script?

MOISES: Most of the time it’s a fantastic story, something that’s unique. And with this it’s very unique, very cool, but what really had me going… I don’t tend to laugh out loud when I read scripts, but this is probably one of the very few that while I was reading I was dying laughing, and it happened to be with my character.

What was the most memorable thing about shooting The Kings Of Summer?

I think just the way we shot it. On our time off we would go with the director, cinematographer and the camera men and we would go and shoot random things. There are a few scenes that we 100% improvised. We used sound from an iPhone… it was incredible. We lived the characters. That doesn’t happen a lot when you’re working on a film.

What was the moment when you discovered acting?

It all started because I was very shy when I was much younger and my mum got me into an acting class to get rid of my shyness, and I loved it. My family and I then came out to LA from Atlanta, Georgia, for 3 months to see if my brother and I could get any acting jobs. I could never have done this without them. My mum and dad have done everything for us. My dad still has to work in Atlanta, so the separation that they had to go through for us to come out here was incredible. It was difficult. It was also difficult to move cause I had friends and school, and I was going into a completely new life. I went from kindergarten to sixth grade in real school and then from sixth I was getting home schooled. I went to the high school for like two months but I just never had time. I never thought that school was a place for me. I had to do more with my time. I finally got the movie Nacho Libre, then the series Hannah Montana, and it just started slowly developing more and more. My brother and I developed a passion for being in LA which grew stronger and stronger. There was no question of us going back to Atlanta after what we had done and getting the taste of whatever this is. I see this as my future. If it’s not acting then writing. LA inspires you to do many more jobs once you are out here.

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Can you tell me about the films you make with your brother?

My brother and I have been making stuff since we were ten years old. The first thing we did was fifteen minutes and was shot with the little camera on my Macbook, which we edited on iMovie. It was fun, and slowly we started doing more and more. I finished a short film which I’m very proud of. It’s called Brothers in Arms. It’s about the love of two brothers and what happens when you separate them. It was actually written when I was shooting The Kings Of Summer. I was away from my brother for 5 months, and it was that solitude and all that that really inspired me to write the script. Then when I got back from The Kings Of Summer my brother and I shot in like a month. I wrote it, directed it, photographed it, my brother scored it for me, he’s the lead actor, and it turned out really well. I’m hopeful to get it to a festival, and if not I’ll just keep it to remember what I did when I was younger and hopefully in the future I’ll be like, ‘this is where I started.’

Hannah Montana was huge. Is it ever difficult to move on from that and try something new?

Yeah, it’s very difficult to get out of that. Hannah Montana is what taught me everything I know about comedy and timing and about the etiquette on set. I wouldn’t be where I am right now, and I wouldn’t have the knowledge that I have right now without that show, but at some point you do have to move on. I’m grateful for the experience, but I’m also grateful that I’ve had the chance to work on other projects that I am very excited about. People have seen me for six years as Rico, and now they will see different sides of me.

Kings of Summer is out in the UK this Friday 26th July