Nicholas Hoult Interview For ‘Warm Bodies’
A funny new twist on a classic love story, ‘Warm Bodies’ is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world. ‘Warm Bodies’ stars Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Analeigh Tipton and Dave Franco. Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), the film is set for release on Febuary 1st in the US and Febuary 8th in the UK.
Playing a zombie who feels trapped and lonely, stumbling around an abandoned airport that is his home and wanting more from life….I’m pretty sure a character like that doesn’t come around that often?
Nicholas Hoult: Yeah (laughs). I was drawn to the challenge and I loved both the book and the script. This young zombie, R, he feels trapped in his zombie state. The most compelling thing about R as a character is his want and need to connect. He wants to connect with the other zombies in the airport, even though they’ve got nothing to really say to him and they can’t even say their names. He wants to connect with them to feel alive. That’s one of the most human instincts ever – to want to feel a part of something and to connect with another human. I have to try to make an audience care about and root for this zombie, that was very interesting to me. In the script he was very funny and eloquent in his voiceover, so there was a charm about him and a humor as well.
I can imagine one of the challenges of R was the communication aspect of him?
Nicholas Hoult: Yeah. A lot of the time I had to communicate just through movement, my eyes, the things I do, or the records R plays for Julie. The idea of not being able to say what you’re thinking was something that was exciting for me. It makes you think in a slightly different way than you normally would. With the voiceover, sometimes the script supervisor read out the voiceover on set so I could hear what the character was meant to be thinking during the scene. It helps with the timing of the scene to make everything link together.
While it’s a unique setting, there’s still the timeless theme of star-crossed lovers?
Nicholas Hoult: Definitely. When you look at pretty much most of the great love stories through time, the likes of Romeo and Juliet, there’s always that thing of star-crossed lovers who want to be together, but for different reasons it’s difficult. That’s always a good base for a story to start from. R and Julie are about as star-crossed as you can get (laughs).
I really enjoyed the lab attack sequence when R and Julie first meet. How was that to film?
Nicholas Hoult: That was one of the scenes I really enjoyed doing. It’s in the lab where zombies break in and capture these teenagers that are out trying to get medicine for the green zone. R spots Julie firing a shotgun in slow motion, and suddenly we hear Frank Sinatra in the background, ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ (laughs). In slow motion Teresa’s doing her action piece with the shot gun – which she’s very good at, she looks really cool. R instantly sees her and just melts slightly, but then he gets shot by her boyfriend Perry.
And you also had the pleasure of getting shot by John Malkovich in ‘Warm Bodies’?
Nicholas Hoult: (Laughs) Yeah. I had this scene with John where he shot me. But that was great because I think up until that point I’d only been shot once before, and that was by Kenneth Branagh. John Malkovich was second, and then the third person I got shot by was Dave Franco. So I’ve got a pretty good list of people who’ve shot me now (laughs).
Zombie movies have often been a very topical sub-genre, ‘Warm Bodies’ pokes fun at humans modern day “zombie-like” state in flashbacks….?
Nicholas Hoult: Yeah. R says that really our zombie lives aren’t that different to the human lives we had before, you know? We do a quick flashback to the past where humans are walking through the airport and they’re on their phones, or they’re attention is on something electronic, no ones really paying much attention to what’s going on around them or connecting with everyone. There’s something to be said for that, that is a bit zombie-like.
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