With director James McTeigue‘s (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) The Raven opening April 27, earlier today I got to speak with Luke Evans by phone since he’s busy shooting Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit movies in New Zealand. If you’re not familiar with The Raven, the story takes place in 1840s Baltimore where a series of grisly murders appear to have been inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe (played by John Cusack). Poe and a detective (Evans) must team up to find the killer before he takes out the woman Poe loves (Alice Eve). The film also stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Brendan Gleeson. For more on the film, here’s the trailer and 40 images.
While I’ll have the full interview with Evans online next week, I wanted to share what he said about The Hobbit today. As most of you know, Jackson is shooting the films digitally on the RED EPIC in 3D and he’s pushing the boundaries of cinema forward by filming 48fps (frames per second) instead of the normal 24fps. What that means is, you’ll see very little motion blur when the camera moves or during the action scenes. I’ve seen 48fps and 60fps first hand and it’s like you’re looking through a window without any glass. It’s incredible. For more on 48fps, here’s Jackson’s recent video blog. Anyway, Evans talks about his reaction to this new way of filming and what it means to be involved in the films. Hit the jump for more.
Collider: You mentioned at the beginning when we first started talking that you’re in New Zealand. I have to say that Lord of the Rings are some of my favorite films of all time, and I am so, so excited to see Peter Jackson’s take on The Hobbit. I definitely would love to ask how it’s going for you and how exciting it’s been for you to be involved in such a production?
Evans: It’s been immensely exciting. It feels like all the work I’ve done so far has been building up to this job and to work with The Master himself on a project which has been his baby since…a long time ago. I feel very lucky to be here, you know. I’m watching this being made, and then watching Pete do his thing. Because you only have to read any articles about the boys who were in the first three movies and how they talked about the experience being in New Zealand and working with Pete and the long period of time that you spent here. I was just very jealous of them, in a healthy way, but it was always something I was envious of. And now I’m here, and now I’m actually one of those boys. I’ll always remember this as one of those experiences in my life. It’s been fantastic, absolutely fantastic. Yes, we’re here ‘till July, so I’ve still got a few months left, some insane, tense months as well. So, yeah, it’s been great.
When did you arrive in New Zealand? Because I know you’re in both parts, was this one of these things where you’re committing to being there for eight months, have you been able to leave? What’s this production schedule like?
Evans: I’ve been here since last August; I arrived August the 1st last year. But, you know, on a movie of this scale there is a lot of down time, so I’ve had chances to go home a couple of times. But this block, I’ve been here since February and I’m here ‘till the end, so this is the longest stretch for me.
I’m not sure if you’re a film nerd like me.
Evans: It’s the first time it’s ever been done. Even if you’re not a nerd you can absolutely see the difference, it’s extraordinary.
Have you been looking at any of the playback on any of the monitors? Because one of the things I think casual fans will not realize what 48 frames a second does is reduces the motion blur. Have you seen any of the action without the motion blur and what does it look like through your eyes?
Evans: Yeah, I’ve seen myself in action and it’s incredible. It really is. It’s the closest to your own eye speed that we’ve ever seen on screen. And it takes a while, when you first put the glasses on, to just appreciate what it actually is that’s going on. Because you’re eyes are not deceiving you, there is no blur, it’s absolutely so effective. Especially for the lack of blur, which is something that we’ve always had to deal with in shooting in 3D, and now we don’t. So, yeah, we’re making history with technology as well as with film.