How do you play a giant dragon when you're a mere human? By being Benedict Cumberbatch, of course.
In new behind-the-scenes footage from "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," released as part of the Extended Edition Blu-Ray out on Nov. 3, we find out what really went into creating the greedy dragon. In the clip, Cumberbatch dons a motion -capture suit as he lays on the floor talking to an unseen Bilbo. "We wanted someone who would something original, unexpected," director Peter Jackson says in the video. "Something that was a surprise to us."
The Weta Digital animation team told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor's head movements and facial expressions helped to assist in the creation of Smaug -- and those were some expressions! But visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken revealed earlier this year that none of Cumberbatch's motion capture was used directly for the dragon, but mostly as a "visual reference to inform the character.”
Regardless, Cumberbatch's deep, crackling voice is definitely what makes Smaug such a distinct dragon. Check out the actor's intense metamorphosis in the video.