Nicholas Hoult’s Zombie Love in Warm Bodies

Jan 24, 2013

By: Lynn Barker

You know all those zombie movies and TV shows; mindless, undead folks rotting and stumbling around eating the living. Well with his unique novel “Warm Bodies”, author Isaac Marion made us believe that love can bring a zombie “back”. The dark and funny novel has been made into a film starring Nicholas Hoult (young Hank McCoy/Beast in the X-Men movies and starring soon in Mad Max: Fury Road and as the lead character in Jack the Giant Slayer).

In Warm Bodies, teen zombie “R” falls for human Julie (Teresa Palmer) and changes his fate and his whole world. We’re in Beverly Hills talking to cute Nick, who has a very short buzz cut now for a film but you can’t miss those gorgeous eyes.

Nick as himselfNick as himself

Kidzworld: How did the lovesick, “goofy” side of your zombie character “R evolve?

  • Nick:  I didn’t say “I’m going to make this guy goofy.” When I first read the script, I instantly understood the character and cared about him and wanted to play him. On set, I realized the thing that makes him goofy is that he obviously cares about this girl so much. He tries his best. And it’s tragic, you know.
  • Guys struggle talking to girls in the best of times. So add on that, the fact that you’re undead, you’re rotting away and you can’t really talk at all, and she’s terrified of you, it makes it very tricky. So I think that’s where the goofy humor comes from. It’s like that situation of trying to charm someone but having no chance amplified a lot.

R becomes more humanR becomes more human

Kidzworld: I was amazed how you went through so many different phases on R’s way to becoming more human. They didn’t shoot that in order did they?

  • Nick: No.

Kidzworld:  So one morning you would be like super zombie and in the afternoon you’d be more human. Did that drive you crazy?

  • Nick: No. You know what? Me and (director) Jonathan (Levine) sat down and went through the key moments of when alterations would happen, when changes would take place for R. The big steps. First seeing Julie, the first time they really connect and we went over all these things. And then we marked those up in the script and then had a zombie scale of like, “Okay. This is the most zombie, and this is least zombie.” Then we’d shoot and Jonathan would be like, “More zombie. Less zombie. Talk a little bit faster. Talk slower. Don’t talk at all. Shut up.” (we laugh) So, yeah, that’s how we did it.

Kidzworld:  How did you learn the zombie walk and other standard things we’re used to seeing?

  • Nick: We watched Dawn of Dead, Night of the Living Dead, all those old ‘80’s movies. But we watched 28 Days Later as well, Zombieland, Edward Scissorhands, Shaun of the Dead. Then I would walk around in my hotel, and sometimes in the gym on the treadmill I might run a little bit zombie on that. But then ultimately it was just you walk up on set and you have all these ideas and you’ve written all this stuff down, and then you just have to go for it, and believe it, and completely commit to it and hope for the best.

R teaches Julie to zombie outR teaches Julie to zombie out

Kidzworld: It worked really well. Your co-star Dave Franco was saying that you got feisty on set. You pulled out a naughty (Playboy-style) magazine at one point when you were sitting on the plane.

  • Nick: Don’t listen to anything he says.

 Kidzworld: Well, it’s “US Weekly” in the movie, but it was evidently something else on set.

  • Nick: Okay, yeah.  There was a scene when Julie had been asleep on the plane and then she wakes up. I did one take just being silly where I had, yes, a naughty magazine. We found it in the props, like, on the plane and I sat there and then when she woke up suddenly I panicked (and put down) the magazine. I also got a tattoo of Jonathan Levine’s face on my arm; a transfer, not a real one, for the shower scene but you don’t see it in the film. It was just for the first take when he didn’t know. He called “action” and you see his face on my arm and me giving it a little kiss. So that made him laugh.

Kidzworld: I’ll bet! R lives in an abandoned 737 plane stocked full of stuff he cares about.  Let’s say it’s post-apocalypse and you have to hide in a lair, what would you have in there for yourself? 

  • Nick: I probably wouldn’t have records just because it would make more sense just to take an iPod for space and a dock. So I’d do that. I’d try maybe some comfy cushions and blankets, and some canned food, and then some nice pictures I guess. I mean nowadays, you could take an iPad down there, couldn’t you?

Nick as R on his plane with Julie (Teresa Palmer)Nick as R on his plane with Julie (Teresa Palmer)

Kidzworld: As long as the batteries hold out.

  • Nick: Oh, yeah. I’d take my iPad and then I’d build like a dynamo on a bike or something to power it up, or get little hamsters to run in a cage and charge it through that.

Kidzworld: Sounds weirdly workable. You’ve got a lot of genres in the movie: romance, action, drama. Was that part of your interest in the project?

  • Nick: Yeah. Yeah, it was. The first time reading it, I liked the character because it made me laugh, and I thought it was well-written, and moved along at a good pace. Jonathan Levine is very good at balancing serious issues but he’s dealing with making them light hearted and he doesn’t try to hammer home messages or anything. This film doesn’t become a complete parody but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a fine line to tread. I like the action bit, horror bit, the gruesomeness. And you’ve got the bad guys with the Boneys (more severe, unreclaimable zombies). Yeah.

Kidzworld: Did you take any inspiration from any other performances?

  • Nick: I read some quotes from Johnny Depp about when he played Edward Scissorhands. I think I’ve still got them in my phone actually. He (Depp) was just saying when he played that role, he was not trying to make people feel sorry for him and just playing it truthfully basically. And that was a good quote that I read, and I was like, “All right. It’s a good point to make. I don’t want people to feel sorry for this character. I just want to see that he’s trying his best and root for him”.

Lost and in loveLost and in love

Kidzworld:  Talk about working with Teresa (Palmer). She had some nice things to say about you so be kind.

  • Nick: (laughs) Teresa is fantastic. I got cast in this and then we did a few readings with a few girls, and all really great actresses, but I remember the moment when I realized that Teresa was the right girl. Obviously she’s very bubbly, and charming, and fun. I sat there doing my zombie impression, and she looked over at me at the end and gave me a little smile, a little nudge, and a little giggle. And it just made me smile and I was like, “Yeah, okay. I get this. This girl could make this guy change.” It was nice.

Kidzworld: When “R” is at his most zombie, she does most of the talking.

  • Nick: I didn’t have to do much a lot of the time, I would sit there, and zone out, and think about lunch, and then get front row seats to watch Teresa act some great monologues. So I’d sit there and be like, “Damn, that was good. Yeah, carry on. Let’s do it one more time. One more for me. I’m enjoying this.” So, yeah, it was a treat having a leading lady who I really got along with and like a lot. It was good.

Nick as cute zombie RNick as cute zombie R

Kidzworld: You do the “R” narration of the film. Did you know you would be doing that from the beginning?  

  • Nick: I knew there was going to be narration, and my voice-over was in the script but it wasn’t the same voice-overs that ended up in the film now. Some of it’s the same, but varied and changed. We just wanted to get the right tone from the beginning because that’s the only time you really get a sense of who R was before he became undead. So it’s that thing of just trying to find the right level, and keep him witty and charming, but still a troubled soul.

Kidzworld: You’ve been acting since you were five. Do you remember your first audition?

  • Nick: It was the easiest job in the world, and I was quite a hungry kid. They said, “Sit under this table and pretend you’re eating cake.” I was like, “All right. I got this.” And that was all I had to do. A great job. But yeah, and I did a lot of TV in England, shows like “Skins”. Earlier, when I was 12, I got cast in About a Boy and that was a very lucky break. And then I stayed in school until I was 17 but carried on working through films some here, some in England. And then recently this, and then Jack the Giant Slayer. That comes out in March I think.

Nick in Jack the Giant SlayerNick in Jack the Giant Slayer

Kidzworld: Based on the Jack and the beanstalk stories. Tell us about that.

  • Nick: It’s a big family swashbuckling adventure. It’s a story about this young farm boy, who I play, called Jack, who has to go on this mission to try and save a princess in a land called Gantua, which is where the giants are  imprisoned in the sky. Lots of giants in this one, not just one, and they’ve all got great personalities, and they are all motioned captured, and fantastic special effects. So it’s a good fun family film.

Kidzworld: You have more movies coming.

  • Nick: Yeah, we’re going to shoot the new X-Men this year. Mad Max will be out next year as well. I wear a lot of make-up again. It’s becoming a habit of mine, king of the eye shadow. Mad Max was fantastic. It’s a boy’s dream. I’ve been waiting to do it since I got cast in it in 2009. It’s been a long time coming. But to get out there and see all of the vehicles that they’ve built, and then the landscape in Namibia is fantastic and incredible. Particularly when they put all these cars in there, and drive them around, and it’s a lot of fun to blow stuff up. And George Miller is one of my favorite directors that I’ve ever worked with.

Kidzworld: That one is supposed to take place after the last Mad Max Thunderdome movie, right?

  • Nick: Yeah. I play a guy called Nux. He’s a driver and a young warrior.

Kidzworld: You still live in England?

  • Nick: Yeah, an hour west of London in the country.

Kidzworld: Do you have ducks and a dog or sheep?

  • Nick: No. We have a dog, not ducks. Yeah, little pet hedgehogs that we stroll around.

Kidzworld: What happened while making Warm Bodies that you were not expecting?

  • Nick: I was surprised by just how much fun we had. You go into films and you’re like, “Oh this is a nice bunch of people. It’ll be fun.” And then so often everyone gets stressed, and the pressure’s on, and people get unhappy. Blah Blah Blah. In this one there was none of that. It was really a great place to work.

The posterThe poster

Catch Warm Bodies in theaters starting February 1st.



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The Alice Killings remain, to this day, one of the strangest and unsolvable serial killings in Japan. From #########, a series of five killings took place. The five killings might have been completely different, if not for the "calling card" that the killer left at each crime scene. He would leave a playing card (it varied from killing to killing) at each scene, in an obvious location, that had "Alice" written on it in the victim's blood. Very few clues were found at each crime scene, and eventually, the case went cold. Below are details of each killing. Sasaki Megumi The first victim was Sasaki Megumi, a 29-year-old owner of a restaurant. Those who knew her described her as a headstrong woman with a short temper and a sharp tongue when dealing with her employees. She was known by her customers for her fine cooking and her dedication to her job. Outside of her job, Megumi was very social, and often went to parties. It was after one such party that she went missing. She decided to walk home from her friend's house, seeing as she was only a block from home, and she was a bit too ##### to drive. Several people offered to drive her home, but she shrugged it off. She was seen leaving the party at one in the morning, and this is the last time she was seen alive. The next morning, a couple walking in the woods about a mile from Megumi's house saw a large amount of blood on an overgrown, unused path. Curious, they followed it, where they found Megumi's body. She had been torn apart, her parts impaled on various tree branches. The couple called the police. It was the police that found the playing card, crammed into Megumi's mouth. It was a Jack of Spades, which had the word "Alice" written on it, as previously mentioned. There were no fingerprints or any DNA to be found. There was vomit on the scene, but the female of the couple admitted that it was hers. Yamane Akio Yamane Akio was a barely known singer in a band that never played anything more than at various bars and community functions. His friends described him as a kindhearted man who would never raise his voice offstage. After his death, his band fell apart, not having the heart to find a new singer. Akio was abducted from his apartment on February 11, 2001. His bandmates were the last people to see him alive, as he had practiced with them earlier in the day. That night, his girlfriend came to visit him, and was surprised to find the house empty. Within days, a missing persons report was filed, and a search for him began. On the security footage of the apartment, a hooded figure could be seen entering through a side door, and leaving with a large garbage bag that bulged strangely. This strange appearance was never accounted for, and no one saw the strange man in person. This man is widely believed to be the killer, but his face was never shown, and there appears to be some doubt. The following week, the owner of the bar "Yoshida's" (where the band had often performed) was opening for the day, and was met with a grisly sight. Slumped at a table was Akio's body. His vocal cords had been ripped from his throat, and he had been shot in the head. His "Alice" card was a King of Diamonds, and was found clutched in his hands, along with his ruined vocal cords. Kai Sakura A teen girl, Kai Sakura had her whole life ahead of her. She was a sweet girl, and well loved by her classmates and relatives. She wanted to go to college to be a fashion designer, and was a week from graduating high school when she was abducted. Sakura's family went frantic trying to find her, and the whole town was combed for the lost girl. Her body was found two days later, buried in a shallow grave. 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Their father, who is still alive to this day, is going through extensive therapy to get over the death of his entire family. At this moment, he is heavily depressed, and is extremely medicated. Aftermath Shortly after the death of the Oshiro siblings, a man named Suzuki Yuuto was arrested for the murders. He was a bum with mental problems, who claimed to "not remember" where he was at the time of any of the murders. Most damning of all, he was seen wearing a coat that had belonged to Yamane Akio. A bit of blood on the sleeve tested positive to be his. Yuuto, who was raving at this point, claimed that a "demon black man with no face" had given him the coat. Yuuto was eventually released when a homeless shelter five miles from the Kai household claimed to have Yuuto in their files for the night of Sakura's murder. Since there was no way for him to get to where she was abducted and back without being noticed, Yuuto was released. On April 30, 2008, a producer known as Yugami-P uploaded his first song to nicovideo, called Hitobashira Arisu(translated roughly as Alice of Human Sacrifice). This song is believed to be based off of the Alice Killings. It tells the story of a little dream who lures people into its world, and then goes on to tell the story of each "Alice." The song has a few parallels with each killing: The first Alice (voiced by MEIKO) was trapped in the woods, which is where Megumi's body was found. The second Alice (voiced by KAITO) was a singer who was "shot by a madman." The third Alice (voiced by Hatsune Miku) was well loved, became the country's queen, and was taken over by a "distorted dream." The forth Alice (voiced by Kagamine Rin/Len) was a pair of twins regarded as one "Alice." They are described as a "stubborn" big sister and "intelligent" younger brother. It also speaks of how they have "yet to awaken," a possible reference to them dying in their sleep. 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