FanBolt had the pleasure of talking with Warm Bodies stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer here in Atlanta last week! The film hits theaters today, and we got the low down on how hard it was to film some of those subtle hysterical scenes from the film, what makes the film different from other supernatural love stories, and so much more!
What was it like developing your character’s arch from brain-dead, self-narrating zombie to real-life, loving human being?
Nicholas Hoult: Jonathan (Director Jonathan Levine) and I sat down before we started shooting and picked out all the moments – like when he first sees Julie or starts dreaming again. Those were the key moments, and after that the moment would improve a little bit. And then Jonathan was great on set with pointing out, “You’re talking a little too slow.”
I imagine that a lot of the scenes in the film before R learns to talk were really difficult to film with a straight face. Can you talk a little bit about what was the most challenging scene to film while staying in character?
Teresa Palmer: There was a scene in particular where we are in the bedroom, and there’s a lot of innuendo. I’m talking about how it must be so hard for you to express yourself. [laughs]
Nicholas Hoult: And your character had just taken off her wet clothes to get into bed to sleep, and then she says it must be so hard. [laughs]
Teresa Palmer: And we just start laughing. It started getting worse and worse and I literally could not look at him. I was just looking at his arm, because I was just cracking up.
Nicholas Hoult: For me it was just that first scene with Rob Corddry where we are just sitting there grunting. There’s only a certain amount of emotion you can get into a grunt, and then he did one where it was this long soft groan. I’d be looking at him, and he’d let this soft wheeze out – and it would just take so long. I was just thinking – I’m on my way out. [laughs] I just couldn’t keep up with him – he’s too funny.
We’ve got a little bit of a trend with Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead. They have a little bit of comedy. What makes Warm Bodies different from those other two films?
Nicholas Hoult: The romance. And the fact it’s done from the zombie’s perspective.
Teresa Palmer: Yeah we pushed the boundaries by adding in the romantic element.
Nicholas Hoult: Yeah I suppose they had romance in those films, but not between the undead and the living.
Teresa Palmer: I also like that this film is hopeful and that zombies can actually heal and actually become human again. I think that’s a new original take on the zombie genre. I love that. It’s happy at the end.
Nicholas Hoult: Also with the zombies eating brains and taking on the human memories. I liked that. It explains why zombies like brains so much. [laughs].
What would you say to people who may think that Warm Bodies may fall into the same category with other supernatural love stories. The first edition of the book had a quote from Stephenie Meyer on it, and I think the film is too smart and witty to be grouped in with that category
Nicholas Hoult: If those fans, and people from those fanbases, embrace the film then that’s a great compliment, and we appreciate it. But it is totally different from those films. Just because it recognizes a lot of the more ridiculous moments, but we still keep a lot of heart in there. I also think that a lot of the books that have been written for the young adult audience are written from the female perspective, and this one is coming from a guy’s point of view. I think guys can enjoy it, and not feel like they have to get dragged along by their girlfriends.
Teresa Palmer: People from all walks of life have really embraced this film and what it means to be a young couple falling in love and what that brings up. With the genre mash up – it’s a love story, its a zombie movie, it’s a comedy, there’s action – it means everyone can get something out of it.
Nicholas Hoult: There’s also like the hardcore zombie fans, that when they heard about the movie said, “You can’t do that to our zombies.” [Laughs] Like the members of the like the online zombie militia or something, and they’ve been coming up saying they liked the movie and the changes. That it stayed true to many zombie things, but also pushed it.
Teresa Palmer: It gives more of an insight into the minds of zombies.
Warm Bodies hits theaters today, February 1st!