Nicholas Hoult about to hit the big time in Warm BodiesBy Caroline Cook
February 07, 2013
Wokingham actor Nicholas Hoult stars in Warm Bodies this month.
Caroline Cook finds out how he became a zombie for the film.
Eight years ago Nicholas Hoult stood on stage at Ranelagh School in Bracknell and recited lines from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Having arrived a few months before to a glimmer of celebrity (he’d already starred in About a Boy with Hugh Grant), the Wokingham teenager was cast as Claudio in the school play – the charming count who falls in love with a beautiful girl.
In some ways not much has changed. Nicholas is still playing the debonair romantic lead – only this time the stage has been upgraded from school hall to Hollywood.
The 23-year-old actor has shed the dodgy haircut from his About a Boy days, picked up style tips from pal and fashion designer Tom Ford and grown several inches to become every bit the tall, dark, handsome leading man Hollywood demands.
This month he stars in zombie flick Warm Bodies – tipped to be ‘the new Twilight’ – before taking the title role in Jack the Giant Slayer, alongside Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy.
It looks as though 2013 could be the year Nicholas moves from familiar face to A-list superstar, but he is taking it all in his stride.
“You know what, I haven’t really thought about the fan reaction,” he says. “Having this film and waiting for Jack the Giant Slayer to come out has been like waiting for a letter home from school when you know you’ve been naughty.
“You are waiting for your parents to get mad and I’ve kind of felt like that the last few months, waiting for them to come out, just hoping people will like them.”
For Nicholas, who played Tony in Channel 4’s drama Skins, taking the role in Warm Bodies was a no-brainer.
“I was reading a lot of scripts at the time,” he says. “This was one that I picked up and read very quickly in one reading and really enjoyed it.”
In the film Nicholas plays zombie boy R who rescues the beautiful – and human – Juliet from a zombie attack.
As R falls in love with her his lifeless existence develops a purpose and R and Juliet set in motion a sequence of events that could change the world as they know it.
For the film Nicholas had to undergo zombie training to master the movements of the undead.
“Yeh, I had a zombie coach, that was interesting,” he says. “Then we had someone in to do movement training with us who was a performer from Cirque de Soleil.
“That was basically me and Rob Corddry [who plays zombie M] in a room just walking around and looking weird, then trying not to laugh.”
As well as walking like a zombie Nicholas also had to get used to munching ‘brains’ on set.
“They were kind of like a peach, sponge, wet, cold mush. And you know what? They weren’t as bad as you might expect,” he says.
“The worst time was when I was doing the scene in the lab, when I’ve just killed Dave Franco.
“We were doing this scene with a dummy replacement for his body and all the hair from his dummy got caught up in the brains.
“I could see it while we were filming but I was like ‘oh I’m in too deep and I can’t cut now’ so while eating the brains, I was feeling this dummy’s hair being chewed around my mouth.
“That was the low point of eating brains.”
However, Nicholas says the film is not just a gore-fest, with bits of humour and a nod to Romeo and Juliet too.
After he finishes the tour for Warm Bodies Nicholas will be gearing up for the release of Jack the Giant Slayer.
The actor has also recently spent six months in Africa filming Mad Max, which is due out next year.
But although it looks likely that soon everyone in Tinseltown will know his name, Nicholas says he has no plans to move to Hollywood just yet.
And he admits that he can’t wait to return home to Wokingham. “The first thing I’ll do with my spare time is visit my family. They’ve recently got a new puppy so I’m going to go and see her.”
n Warm Bodies is in cinemas on Friday.