Actor Ciaran Hind, who plays Steppenwolf in the much-anticipated Justice League film, reveals he was not close with the rest of the case for one simple purpose; He wasn’t there.
“I’m sorry I’m not in costume, “ Hind concedes during an interview on the BBC’s Michael Ball Show, revealing that his portrayal of the ominous Darkseid minion was completely a work of motion capture on a sound stage. “So [they] stick a helmet on your head, they put two cameras around, and they capture all your expressions, facial expressions. So basically they’re going to concoct some kind of construction and they will use my facial expressions – eyes, mouth, voice – they’ll turn into this murderous, avenging Steppenwolf from the planet Apokalips, apparently. Who’s hell bent on Earth.”
This admission alone pleases the fans in that he acknowledges Steppenwolf’s point of origin, as well as his characterization as the loyal dog of Apokalips’ sovereign ruler. However, in the extended cut of BvS, fans already caught their first glimpse of Steppenwolf in a holographic display before Lex Luthor in the half-sunken Kryptonian ship upon his arrest.
Since Andy Serkis’s Gollum in The Lord of The Rings trilogy, motion capture has become a widely-used cinematic technique consistently refined and redefined with every project. Having an actor garbed in a motion capture suit either during the day of shooting or reshot later on a soundstage allows for the non-CGI performers to play off of each other. Given that these actors will likely be playing against a gigantic reflective ball and someone reading the lines off-camera on a green screen soundstage, a natural verbal dispute presents a challenge. The conveyance of a performer’s reactions to the lines of another is what makes for an engaging visual display beyond all of the best practical and visual effects up one’s sleeve.
Given Steppenwolf is the primary antagonist in this first outing for the League, it leaves one to wonder how much contact Hind’s character will have with the cast onscreen. Will he be actively involved in the plot’s numerous assaults on Earth, or will the insect-like parademons lead the charge and control much of the carnage through the film? In any case, it seems as though Hind will have first contact with his costars on the red carpet in November.
“No, I don’t know whether they’re all afraid to come and meet me, “ the actor joked. “[No], no, they weren’t, really. Because it’s imaginary, you do it with green screen… That was another challenge, you could say, yeah. But it was quite fun. And they’re very encouraging in what you do, suggesting ‘Over here, look over there, imagine that, do this here, they’re coming at you now.’”
Justice League opens in theaters on November 17, 2017.