Jamie Bell plays a very important role in the upcoming motion-capture, 3D epic, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. He’s the title character in the adaptation that’s helmed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. We recently spoke with Bell at the press junket for The Eagle and he talked about his love for Tintin but his initial reluctance to do motion capture because he had no idea what the technology entailed. He also spoke about the film’s story and whether or not he thinks it will appeal to American audiences.

When Bell was first approached to do Tintin, he was skeptical:

“What is it? That was my first thing initially. What is it? How do you do it? What does it require? How does it work? Does it even work? Let me see some evidence of it working. I watched some of those motion capture films, which were very early and primitive in terms of the technology. All props to Robert Zemeckis for kind of spearheading the industry in saying that this is something we need to take note of.”

On his first experience working with motion capture:

“I knew everything about Tintin. I was already a Tintinophile or Tintinologist. I was very into that so it was literally trying to understand the mechanics of the technology. You want me to stand in a gray room and act as though I’m in a sea plane in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the Sahara desert with nothing around me that informs anything about this character’s journey? Anything about anything in the physical world? That’s great because it just means that I can make it all up!”

On whether or not the story of Tintin will attract American viewers:

“I think anyone who understands and appreciates Indiana Jones, understands Tintin and they don’t even know what it is yet. I feel like it’s not going to be difficult. I think the characters are great because they all have human flaws. The Tintin character is a very driven and ambitious guy. The structure of the story and the adventure is something we all know and love. There’s something at the end and they’ve got to get to it. There’s a very bizarre and quirky and exciting relationship in the center of it between these two guys. And there’s Steven Spielberg at the helm, who does this story incredibly well.”

On Spielberg’s first motion capture experience:

“For Steven, it’s new technology for him. I think before Jurassic Park CGI wasn’t a common word. We didn’t really understand what it meant so he kind of invented CGI. He put it into people’s living rooms and we kind of understood what it meant. In the similar way that James Cameron has kind of made motion capture understandable. Steven Spielberg is such a household name, and so linked to childhood and fantasy for children and dreams, I think he will make motion capture something that we understand and appreciate.”

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is scheduled to hit theaters on December 28, 2011.

Are you excited to see the film? Are you familiar with the original comic?