The movie scene

Nicholas Hoult brings zombie romantic comedy to life

 

Traditionally, vampires are the movie monsters who get all the girls. But Nicholas Hoult is about to change all that.

In the zombie comedy Warm Bodies, which opens Friday, Hoult plays R, an undead young man who falls in love with Julie, a live girl ( Teresa Palmer of I Am Number Four) and finds himself coming back to life.

The road to true love, however, is dangerous in this crumbling, post-apocalyptic world: Humans have barricaded themselves into an armed fortress of a city, and Julie’s military-minded dad ( John Malkovich) shoots lurching corpses on sight.

The British-born Hoult ( A Single Man, X-Men: First Class) laughs at the idea of being the first zombie romantic hero — R doesn’t look quite as rotten as the undead on AMC’s The Walking Dead, though he’s a bit veiny — but says he loved the script’s characters and wit.

“As ridiculous as the concept is, it really worked,” he says. “I believed it. This character isn’t good-looking or eloquent or fast paced. But he’s protective of Julie. He cares about Julie. He’s trying his best. And those are all redeeming qualities.”

So how do you go about playing a zombie with a heart? The cast watched the classics ( Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Evil Dead) and more recent comedic fare ( Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland) to prepare.

“It was great to see how the movies developed and how the genre has pushed into the comedic realm,” says Hoult, 23. “We’ve taken that a step further.”

Hoult and costar Rob Corddry, who also undergoes a humanizing transformation as R’s best undead friend, trained with a Cirque du Soleil professional to practice their zombie shuffle and other key movements.

“That was great, so I didn’t feel so self conscious about it,” Hoult says. “It helped us get in the right mind frame. We also had to run, which was tricky, running so uncoordinated and trying to keep up with Teresa.”

More difficult was the concept of playing a corpse with only minimal ability to talk or react to what’s happening around him.

“At first I said, ‘Hang on, this is going to be a little tricky,’ ” Hoult recalls. “We worked on mannerisms without going too over the top. But the main thing is he’s like a lot of guys. He can’t communicate very well, and all he really wants to do is connect. Every guy has been in that situation.”

Hoult got his start in the business at age 8 opposite Hugh Grant in About a Boy, a “fantastic experience,” he says. He’ll next be seen the title role in the fairytale adventure Jack the Giant Slayer, which opens in March, and has another X-Men film coming out next year.

“You’ve got to try and mix it up,” he says of his career. “I’m trying to work with good directors and talented people and playing different characters. I enjoy doing little personal one-on-one scenes talking across a bar, but I also enjoy running around killing giants. It’s like being a big kid.”

Connie Ogle

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity roundup

    Ex ‘Ice Road Truckers’ star faces felony charges

    Well, this reality star didn’t get vetted too well: Tim Zickuhr, who used to costar as a one of the drivers on the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, extortion and coercion after police say he kidnapped a prostitute from Las Vegas, reports TMZ. The woman (aka Snow White) told police her client threatened to kill her if she didn’t repay $1,000 that he believed she stole from him. Zickuhr will have his day in court next month. No comment from History Channel folks.

  • Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

    MIAMI (AP) – Justin Bieber is seeking a delay in his trial currently scheduled to begin next month on Florida charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

  •  
Miami playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has received a $275,000 Doris Duke Artist Award.

    La vida local

    Mag: Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods’ ex wife are friends

    No bad blood here. Though Elin Nordegren is unlikely to befriend one of her ex-husband Tiger Woods’ conquests (even though we’re sure that Perkins waitress was/is a great human being), Us Weekly is reporting Nordegren has no issue with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. In fact, the two are friends. Not besties by a stretch, but after spending time doing parental things, the two have found they get along. A source tells the mag: “You'd think it would be weird, but ... they talk all the time. Elin likes that Lindsey is a strong woman.”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category