We’ve come a long way since Jar Jar Binks was considered the pinnacle of emotive CGI characters in live action film, as the special features on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will surely demonstrate on their own, without any need to mention either Star Wars or Avatar. When you consider the drastic physical transformation undergone by some of the X-Men when their mutant gene kicked in, it makes sense that it would be a technology that Bryan Singer would be interested in deploying the technology in Days of Future Past.
Is it only coincidence that he’s also refusing to confirm whether Nightcrawler will make the character roster for the film? Probably, but it’s a nice coincidence.
Singer used motion capture for the first time on the imminent Jack the Giant Slayer, and told MTV:
I definitely want to use this technology again, and I might even be using some of it in a different way in “X-Men.” I don’t wanna say how, yet, but I’m definitely using some of this technology on “X-Men” which I never used in any of the other “X-Men” films.
Are you talking about creating a fully CGI character in “Days of Future Past”?
That’s the thing I don’t want to talk about. I’m not sure. I’m doing research on it now.
There are two things that come to mind here: Singer used motion capture to bring the giants of Giant Slayer to screen. We’ve also been given some indications that the X-Men’s own giant foes, the Sentinels, will be making an appearance in Days of Future Past. Giant robots, however, don’t strike me as the kind of characters you would necessarily need to get a particularly expressive performance out of. Which leaves us with a number of X-Men characters who have a completely transformed and permanent appearance. On the subject of Nightcrawler, for example, Singer has been studiously unwilling to make promises. From HuffPo:
Will we ever see Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler again?
I don’t know. We’ll see. You know … we’ll see.
That sounded coy.
[Laughs] Yeah, I know. I don’t want to … sometimes you don’t want to say “yes” or “no” to something that may not be a “yes” or a “no,” or anything. I haven’t decided yet, a few things. I’m still, you know — there are certain aspects of the script that I’m still toying with.
The last time Nightcrawler was in a movie, it was 2003, and the idea of creating an all CGI character was still pretty revolutionary. It had been less than six months since The Two Towers introduced the world to Andy Serkis‘ Gollum, the final nail in the coffin of the idea that a mix of motion capture and CGI animation could create a character that produced a full range of emotions in an audience. Alan Cumming, however, still had to sit through hours of makeup every day, an experience that left him cool on returning for X-Men: Last Stand. While motion capture isn’t without its own odd makeup, it certainly involves less of it. What character do you think Singer has in mind for an all CGI rendering?